HPD probe launched into handling of officer-involved crash that left motorcyclist injured
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Records reveal a Honolulu police officer arrested for driving under the influence and crashing into a utility pole seven years ago recently slammed his subsidized vehicle into the back of a motorcyclist, seriously injuring the rider.
A judge found Vasai Isala, Jr. not guilty of the 2016 DUI and inattention to driving charges.
Meanwhile, the victim in this latest crash tells HNN Investigates he’s spent the past month and half trying to get answers about what happened the night he was hit.
But he says he’s being stonewalled by the police department.
After receiving several tips from law enforcement sources about the case, we asked HPD if the department was investigating claims that Vasai Islala, Jr. — who has been on the force for 18 years — may have been driving under the influence when he crashed into a motorcyclist.
HPD didn’t confirm or deny that information.
However, a spokesperson did tell us an administrative investigation is underway into the responding officers’ handling of the incident.
On Sept. 22 at 9:10 p.m., Honolulu police responded to the scene of the crash on Kamehameha Highway at Salt Lake Boulevard.
HPD records reveal a subsidized police vehicle driven by Isala, off duty at the time, slammed into the back of a motorcyclist at a stop light.
The impact of the crash sent the 62-year-old rider flying across the asphalt.
“I think I was blacked out for a while,” said Randy Sagario.
Sagario was rushed to Tripler Army Medical Center suffering from a serious neck injury and road rash down the left side of his body.
“I still have shoulder and neck issues. Nausea and headaches daily,” he sid.
The following week, he says, he had what doctors call a borderline stroke. He thinks it was directly related to the crash.
“At the time any type of stress, if I had to think, I would feel my head just trying to explode,” Sagario said.
He says those injuries have prevented him from returning to his job in aircraft operations production. He says his wife has also had to leave work so she can care for him.
Sagario told us he can’t remember much about what happened at the scene after he was hit, but he says he did speak to police in the emergency room.
“I gave him a statement at the hospital. I had to ask the officer to read it back to me knowing I was still in shock,” Sagario said.
For the past month and a half, the 62-year-old has repeatedly asked HPD for a copy of the crash report filed by officers that night.
So far, the only thing the department has given him are the first four pages of what appears to be a 24-page report along with a few more pages from what look like two other reports.
It wasn’t until he got those papers he realized it was an off-duty officer who hit him.
He says the third time he asked he was told by HPD that the “investigation is still open and it’s classified.” Sagario says the person he talked to told him the department was doing an internal investigation.
The reason: “The person that hit me was driving a subsidized vehicle,” Sagario said.
But that’s not the story Honolulu police gave HNN Investigates.
On Oct. 18, a spokesperson told us in an email, “the department opened an administrative investigation into the responding officers’ handling of the incident.”
Sources told us just before the crash, Isala had attended a party.
The partial report HPD provided Sagario shows Isala was not given a field sobriety test. And the box asking if officers suspected impairment was left blank.
Meanwhile, Honolulu police confirm Isala remains on full duty.
When HNN Investigates asked Sagario if he thought HPD had been straight with him about the circumstances of the crash he responded, “No.”
“All I want is answers,” he said.
Over the past three weeks, HNN Investigates has asked HPD Chief of Police Joe Logan multiple times to sit down with us and talk about this investigation.
Our latest request was made two days ago. But the department repeatedly turned us down saying,”the investigation into the responding officers is ongoing.”
HNN Investigates will continue to track this case.
Meanwhile, Sagario told us he’s certain the reason he’s alive today is because he was wearing a helmet along with other personal protective gear. Tonight he’s urging others who ride on two wheels to do the same.
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