Merrie Monarch performer's stolen car involved in Hilo police ch - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Merrie Monarch performer's stolen car involved in Hilo police chase and shooting

Cherish Torres, 25, Cherish Torres, 25,
HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Merrie Monarch performer says it was her stolen car that was involved in a police chase and shooting in Hilo on Saturday.

"I just can't believe it.  I'm just totally shocked right now," said Shawnnalei Au.

Au says she reported her car stolen on Monday, two days before her performance.

“I was at my mom's and the kids came in the house and asked me where my car was, and of course it's not in the driveway…I'm shocked…I was immediately crying cause I had performances and Tahitian stuff that I need for my performances Wednesday because I dance for Hoike night,” Au said.

When Au and her Tahitian dance group took the stage two days later, the Hilo native said she had plenty on her mind besides dancing.

“It was just completely stressful, I was crying, I couldn't believe it. It was so hard to deal with. But my Tahitian sisters and brothers, they weren't going to let me out of this performance, so they all helped me get everything together," she said.

Then on Saturday, a surprising break in the case.

"Just came speeding through down that stop sign, hang that turn, the cop banged them once. The car tried to keep going, tried to outrun the cop, then the cop banged it again and then they went into the puka, into the gulch, then I heard like four shots was fired," said Jesse Branco.

Police arrested Cherish Torres, 25, after they say she crashed Shawnnalei Au's stolen Honda Civic after refusing to pull over for police.

They say Torres drove toward an officer, who fired one shot at the car, causing Torres to crash into the patrol car pursuing her. The shot missed and no one was badly hurt in the crash.

On Monday, Torres was charged with car theft, first-degree criminal property damage and five traffic offenses.

"There's not much we can do about people that steal because if they want it that bad, they're gonna take it.  I'm just glad that the police got them," Au said.

Au says police told her several other Hondas have recently been stolen in the area. She says she is happy police caught the suspect, but she's still without a car to take her three kids to school.

Torres' bail is set at $3,600.  Her first court appearance is tomorrow.

As for Au, she says theft cost her about $2,000.  She said it was the only means of transportation for her and her three kids.

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