On Hawaii island, an investigation into alleged desecration of the historic Punaluu Wharf took a bizarre turn. A woman driving near the boat ramp narrowly escaped as her vehicle rolled toward the water. She was briefly in critical condition and some residents believe the accident was no coincidence.
On Wednesday around 6:30 p.m., firefighters and police responded to a woman in critical condition pinned beneath her white Ford SUV at the Punaluu Wharf in Kau.
"I noticed them lift the car and oh there's a person stuck underneath it" said witness Wim Koki.
Police say the SUV reversed toward the boat ramp. A rear tire went over the rocky ledge next to the ramp when the car's brakes reportedly gave out. When the driver got out, the SUV shifted and fell even more, pinning both of her legs underneath the front tire.
"They were able to lift the car. Dragged or pulled the person out from being pinned and then they successful got them out from underneath the car," said Koki.
The accident happened at the boat ramp where a boat tour operator used a back hoe and allegedly destroyed and altered the historic property.
"It was the exact spot," said Koki.
Now some in the Ka'u community calling for a kapu that people stay clear. There's a nearby heiau and they believe burial sites were disturbed. Residents say prayers are now needed.
"I gotta tell you guys now. The place gotta cleanse and when I saw cleanse, nobody can be camping on that wharf now. We gotta give some time for the energy to pass," Demetrius Oliveira on his facebook page.
"I wouldn't go there right now. I'd stay away. Keep my distance," said Koki.
Police say the injured woman was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, treated and released.
Meanwhile, the state land department is investigating alleged violations of the conservation district and historic preservation rules. Hang Loose Boat Tours owner, Simon Valej, conducted the work without permits. The state says the "historic site had significant impacts with heavy equipment and significant ground disturbance."
The state and the county are investigating. Previously, the DLNR said federal agencies were also investigating.
Valej could face fines up to $10,000 dollars per violation for historic preservation violations and up to $15,000 per violation for Land Use Conservation District administrative rules. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case sent Valej a notice of alleged violations. The DLNR is also working with the county to further investigate allegations that the company left two piles of dirt on the shore after trying to excavate land for a launch.
In a statement, Valej wrote "the DLNR should post signs informing the public of sacred and historical landmarks like there are in other places. Campers and/or visitors violate the site with trash, beer bottles and cigarette buds. The area looks very uncared for, filthy and no place for visitors to learn about nay sacred Hawaiian historical landmarks."