Number of people cited for loitering in the lava disaster zone grows to 18
PUNA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - More citations have been issued to people caught loitering in lower Puna, where mandatory evacuation orders are in place.
The number of citations issued grew to at least 18, the DLNR said Sunday.
Individuals are reportedly using back roads that have been coned or barricaded, but need to remain open in case local residents need to evacuate.
"These people need to think. They are not only putting themselves into potentially life-threatening situations, but we can't completely lock gates or erect impassable barricades in areas where people have only one way out," Deputy DOCARE Enforcement Chief Jason Redulla said.
State officials identified the individuals cited as:
- Joseph Tomaselli
- Steven Vige, 64, of California
- Dilbert Shaw, 35, of Lahaina
- Larrick Euband, 34, of Lahaina
- Matt Magura, 20, from Germany
- Michael Eisgruber, 23, from New York State.
- Joseph Anthony of Hong Kong
- Brothers from Massachusetts, 36-year-old Glenn Rupp and 40-year old Brian Rupp
- 39-year-old Eli McKibbin, Naniwale Estates Resident
- 51-year-old Randy Hoyle, Naniwale Estates Resident
- Darrell and Alice Wells of California, 53 and 51
- 34-year-old Kyle Eckstrom of Honolulu
- 41-year-old David Jensen of Washington, D.C.
Others cited have not been identified.
"When officers have to spend so much time getting people out of areas that are clearly closed, it means they're being taken away from more critical duties. The rescues and subsequent citations this morning show that some people are not heeding warnings to stay away," Redulla said.
DLNR officials said they confiscated entrance placards for violation of use, and several cameras as evidence.
Those cited will have to appear in court to face charges of loitering in a disaster zone under Hawaii County code. Citations for loitering are petty misdemeanors but the penalties can be greater for loitering in a disaster area, according to state officials.
For weeks, officials have reminded the public that the eruption in Leilani Estates is not the time for sightseeing.
"They're putting their own lives at risk, the lives of law enforcement and first responders, and the lives of local residents who may need to evacuate quickly," Redulla said.
The public is advised to stay away from the area. Only select residents will be permitted within the disaster zone to claim personal belongings.
Earlier this week, officials cited a California man for flying a drone within the restricted airspace over the lava.
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