Kahului man arrested after car runs through crowd at Maui Marathon

Published: Sep. 21, 2014 at 2:58 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 22, 2014 at 12:40 PM HST
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MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui police arrested a 22-year-old Kahului man for allegedly driving through a crowd of people at the Maui Marathon Sunday morning, injuring one person.

For one runner, the most intense moments came before the race even started.

"Something snapped inside of my mind that told me to go and stop the car," said Dan Skousen.

Skousen was at the front of the line when he saw the 2014 white Acura 4-door sedan head straight toward him.

"The people, including myself, went to hit the car like, 'Stop, what is wrong with you,'" Skousen said.

Skousen said he saw the driver hit a man and watched him fly onto the hood of the car.

"I ran around to the passenger side and the window was down and I kinda leaned through or jumped through the window and pulled the emergency break," he said.

Skousen said the car reeked of alcohol.

"After I pulled the emergency break, he steps on the gas again with all these people in front of him still. And the car tried to lunge forward but it couldn't. At that point, I turned off the ignition pulled out the keys."

Police say Rustyn Pajimola-Aiu, 22, of Kahului was driving the car drunk. They say he hit a 53-year old Kahului man and dragged him 30 feet.

"When I think of alcohol and drunk driving, it's like one of the most disrespectful things you can do, have a 2,000-pound weapon," said Skousen.

Police say Pajimola-Aiu was leaving the parking lot of Queen Kaahumanu Center by exiting Onehee Avenue and Wakea Avenue when he hit the bystander shortly after 5 a.m.

"My heart was racing and people were scared. There was a lot of commotion. We didn't know if anyone was hurt yet. We were all screaming," said 15-year-old Silvan Engert.

"As a mother of a 15 year old, first of all, it was scary. And I'm lucky we weren't across the road because we thought of going on that side of the road to watch and we decided not to for whatever reason," said Silvan's mother Karin.

Pajimola-Aiu was arrested and charged for driving under the influence and an outstanding bench warrant.

The victim was treated and released on scene by first responders.

"It was not something, as a race director, you prepare for. It was very disappointing to see something like that happen," said Race Director Rudy Huber.

The marathon continued and Skousen said he did go on to finish.

"We don't want to just cancel the event for something like this. I wanted everyone to walk away with a positive attitude about the Maui Marathon," Huber said.

Huber says the Maui Marathon is the oldest marathon in Hawaii and west of the Rockies. He says people from all over the world gather on the Valley Isle for this prestigious event.

"Were gonna come back and do it again. We're not going to let somebody or a few people ruin an event that's been around for 44 years," said Huber.

Pajimola-Aiu's bail is set at $1,200.

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