HPD investigating hit-and-run crash that may have involved police SUV

An internal police investigation has been launched after a hit-and-run earlier this month that may have involved a Honolulu police SUV.
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 5:59 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 12, 2023 at 6:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu police department is investigating a hit-and-run earlier this month that may have involved an HPD officer in a chase.

The crash happened on July 3 at about 8 pm.

Witnesses reported that a Honolulu police officer was chasing a white car through a Kunia neighborhood when the white car backed into a parked pickup truck.

A Ring doorbell camera captured video of the impact and showed the white car leaving the scene as the pickup truck alarm blared.

Ten seconds after the impact, a blue HPD SUV drove by — then turned away from the damaged truck. The blue HPD vehicles are used by the traffic enforcement unit.

The officer driving is accused of pursuing the white car without notifying dispatch.

Retired HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy referred to that as a “silent” pursuit.

“It’s in violation of policy,” said McCarthy.

He added said the officer should have heard the pickup truck alarm and seen its lights flashing after the crash.

“Then there’s an accident that he just seems to ignore and drives off,” he said.

McCarthy said the officer should have stopped, notified the truck’s owner and made a report.

Attorney Jonathan Burge, a former officer, said it seems obvious that something was off when the SUV drives past.

“If you’re a police officer, you’re going, ‘hmm, something’s going on here. I’m going to stop and investigate.’”

The owner of the truck, who did not want her name used for our report, said she found her truck damaged minutes later after hearing alarm.

Truck damaged in hit-and-run
Truck damaged in hit-and-run(None)
Truck damaged in hit-and-run
Truck damaged in hit-and-run(None)

She then watched the Ring video, spoke with neighbors, and called police.

Burge said it won’t be difficult to track down the police officer who was at the wheel.

“Each officer is issued a laptop that has GPS and location monitoring,” Burge said, adding if the professional standards office investigates they can also find out the officer’s speed and route.

Officers are required to notify dispatch when pursuing a vehicle.

A supervisor can then allow the pursuit to continue or call it off.

Attorney Victor Bakke said that’s to protect the public, the officer and to limit liability for the city.

“It’s dangerous for everyone involved,” Bakke said, adding HPD supervisors need to weigh that risk. “Unless it’s for something immediate and dangerous, like a fleeing gunman, or something along those lines, it’s just not worth it.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for HPD said the case is classified as a “motor vehicle collision fled scene” and will be forwarded to the Pursuit Review Board.

The spokesperson also said PSO is not investigating the case, meaning there is no internal investigation into the officer’s actions and the officer remains on full duty.