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HPD Officers Charged With Felony Offenses Over Makaha Crash


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The charges come 18 months after the supposed pursuit and mishap.

Four Honolulu law enforcement officer were charged with felonies Thursday for their declared function in a 2021 pursuit in Makaha that led to injuries to 6 individuals.

With their pursuit lights off, the officers apparently chased after a car that then crashed, after which they ran away the scene just to return declaring they had no understanding of the occasions.

Officer Joshua Nahulu deals with the most severe claims; “collisions involving death or serious bodily injury” — basically a hit-and-run — a class B felony with an optimum 10-year jail sentence.

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Officers Jake Bartolome, Erik Smith and Robert Lewis were charged with “hindering prosecution in the first degree,” a class C felony punishable by as much as 5-years in jail, and conspiracy to do so, a misdemeanor with an optimal 1 year prison sentence.

Richard Sing, a legal representative representing Nahulu, decreased to comment Thursday.

Makaha Crash
The crash apparently took place after a high-speed cops chase at the corner of Farrington Highway and Orange Street. (Hawaii News Now)

Bartolome, Smith and Nahulu have actually already asked for legal representation in a variety of civil fits that were brought versus them, which the Honolulu Police Commission given.

“Now that the prosecutor’s office has filed criminal charges, if any of these officers want representation now for their criminal charges, they’re going to have to ask the Commission again,” commission chair Doug Chin composed in an email.

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“If they ask, we will schedule a meeting and the commissioners can take into account any new information, including anything available from the prosecutor’s investigation, before they vote again,” he said.

The cops department eliminated the cops powers of 3 of the officers after the crash and will limit the 4th officer’s powers, Honolulu Police Acting Chief Keith Horikawa said in a declaration Thursday.

Horikawa did not determine who was the 4th officer.

“These charges demonstrate that it is important to seek justice even when those believed to have committed crimes are the very people we expect to uphold the law,” Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said in a news release.

Hawaii News Now obtained video from a witness at the scene revealing cops examining the crash in Makaha in 2021. (Hawaii News Now)
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Eric Seitz, who is representing Dayten Gouveia — then a 14-year-old guest who was immobilized from the neck down in the mishap — in a civil case, believes the charges were late and insufficient.

“You might want to raise some question about why it took them 18 months to charge anybody,” Seitz said. “I think they didn’t want to charge them at all.”

The district attorney’s charges likewise appeared less serious, concentrating on the distressing brain injury driver Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati sustained in the crash in spite of there being numerous victims, Seitz said.

“Their offenses are only against the one person,” he said. “Any civilian in this case would have been charged with attempted murder or attempted manslaughter. These are very minor charges that will probably result in them being put on probation,” said Seitz.

Seitz included that the officers have actually been working for the previous 18 months, getting complete incomes. “This is just a whitewash,” he said.

He said he hopes that federal district attorneys bring civil liberties charges.

‘Unannounced Pursuit’

The 4 officers reacted to a sound problem at Maili Beach Park around 3:30 a.m. Sep. 12, 2021, according to a news release from the Prosecuting Attorney’s workplace.

Perkins-Sinapati and 5 other individuals then repelled in a white 2000 Honda Civic. Perkins-Sinapati’s lawyer, Michael Green, would later on inform Civil Beat that Nahulu had a “vendetta” versus him.

Nahulu, Smith and Bartolome removed up Farrington Highway in an “unannounced pursuit” of the car, the charging file states.

Passengers in the car later on informed Civil Beat that the cops kept their blue lights off, one cops Toyota 4Runner struck them, then the officers repelled.

Nahulu was closest when the Honda crashed, the charging file states.

“We felt this bump and I looked at my uncle and he tried to correct the wheel,” then-20-year-old Justus Sinapati Mason, Perkins-Sinapati’s nephew in the guest seat, informed Civil Beat. “And then we felt an extra push and my uncle couldn’t control the vehicle. We were kind of drifting and hit a ditch. That’s when we spun out,” he said.

The Honda struck a curb, then trees, and discussed a concrete wall. Five of the 6 travelers were ejected. Perkins-Sinapati, then 35, entered into a vegetative state. Gouveia was immobilized from the waist down. Three others were given the medical facility in severe condition, one with a fractured arm and ribs and another with a fractured spinal column and ribs.

Dayten Gouveia was immobilized from the waist down following the crash in 2021 (Hawaii News Now)

Three officers, Nahulu, Smith and Bartolome, apparently drove previous and regrouped with Lewis in the driveway of Waianae Intermediate School, the charging file states.

They were then dispatched to the scene of the crash.

When Bartolome, Smith and Lewis got here, they apparently turned on their body-worn cams and “comported” themselves as if they “had no prior knowledge of the facts that gave rise to the collision,” the charging file states. Bartolome and Smith submitted mishap reports without explaining what caused the crash “despite the fact that” they were “present when the collision occurred.”

Lewis, the district attorney declares, found out in the school driveway what preceded the crash and left it out of his report.

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