WAILUKU - With a criminal history of 34 convictions over the past 30 years, a Wailuku man has been sentenced to a five-year prison term in two stolen-vehicle cases.
Wade Ogawa, 47, was ordered to pay $5,650 in restitution to the owner of one vehicle, a 1987 Toyota pickup that was stolen June 28 from the Maalaea Harbor Shops parking lot.
The next day, Ogawa sold the truck's engine for $200, claiming it belonged to him, said Deputy Prosecutor Kenton Werk. He said Ogawa was seen dumping the pickup truck in an empty construction lot in Wailuku the same day.
The truck owner could identify the engine as his because he had made unique modifications to it, Werk said.
In another case, on Aug. 18, Ogawa tried to flee from police in a 1996 Chevrolet pickup but couldn't get it into gear, Werk said.
Ogawa had pleaded no contest to two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and fourth-degree theft.
Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball said Ogawa has had a "very challenging life" and has been an addict since age 15.
"He has paid the price by basically being in and out of prison," Ball said.
Werk said Ogawa had been given chances to address his addiction, including through the Maui Drug Court program of treatment and supervision.
"The defendant is a career criminal that needs to be locked up for the protection of the people of Maui County," Werk said.
In addition to Drug Court, Ogawa had opportunities for rehabilitation through probation, prison and parole, said 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo.
"But you squandered every single one of those opportunities," she told Ogawa during his sentencing June 6. "This is why we're at a prison term now. You put yourself in this position."
He will serve the prison term at the same time as a five-year prison term in another stolen vehicle case.
In another sentencing earlier this month, a 44-year-old Kihei man was ordered to serve a six-month jail term as part of five years' probation for assaulting and threatening a police officer after being arrested for drunken driving last year.
Since his arrest June 9, 2011, Scott King said he has been sober and attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
"I never thought I'd have the kind of life I have now," he said. "I don't ever want to go back to where I was."
Ball said King had two jobs and was working to repair relationships with family members.
"He really, really has turned it around," Ball said. "He has put himself into a position of success."
While commending King on his progress, Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds recommended the jail term, saying "a message needs to be sent to the community that this type of behavior is not tolerated."
He said that the night King was arrested, his blood-alcohol level was 0.174 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and he was seen driving on the sidewalk on Lipoa Street in Kihei.
King threatened DUI Task Force officer Jonathan Kaneshiro, "one of the most humble, professional police officers that you would ever meet," Simonds said.
He said when King was released from handcuffs to use the bathroom at the Kihei Police Station, he damaged a wall. After being placed in a police car to be taken to the Wailuku Police Station, King also damaged a police car and head-butted Kaneshiro, Simonds said.
Loo said King's appearance in court for his sentencing June 8 was in contrast to his "belligerent, foul-mouthed" behavior when he head-butted the officer in his facial area, punched the wall of the police bathroom, kicked out the window of a police car and started banging his head on the window.
Referring to King's prior drunken-driving convictions in Tennessee and California, Loo told King, "You know you cannot drink and drive."
"That night, not only were you drunk, you tend to be a mean, ugly drunk," she said. "That night, you chose Jack Daniels over something else."
King had pleaded no contest to first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, first-degree terroristic threatening, DUI and fourth-degree criminal property damage.
He was ordered to pay $500 in restitution, a $500 fine and $442 in fees. He also was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
His driver's license was revoked for one year.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.