Haiku man sentenced to six months in jail for crashing stolen vehicle

WAILUKU — A man who accelerated and crashed a stolen vehicle when he tried to drive between police cars was sentenced Wednesday to a six-month jail term.

Ikaika Gamponia, 28, of Haiku was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and was placed on four years’ probation as part of his sentence.

“You’re lucky no one got hurt, yourself included,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said in sentencing Gamponia.

He was arrested the morning of Feb. 19 when police officers saw him driving a stolen rental car at Maliko Gulch.

“You’re supposed to stop,” Loo said. “You don’t accelerate forward and try to drive between two police cars, fishtailing and smashing into the officer’s vehicle.”

The car had been stolen earlier that month from Hertz Rent A Car in Kahului.

Police found Gamponia with marijuana, and he said in court that he had been under the influence at the time.

Gamponia had pleaded no contest to unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, reckless driving, driving while his license was suspended or revoked and third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug.

Loo noted that she had sentenced Gamponia to probation in November for almost identical charges involving a stolen car and methamphetamine. His probation officer reported Gamponia had been noncompliant on “every single thing,” Loo said.

In court Wednesday, Gamponia asked for another chance on probation.

He has been sober while in jail since his arrest and is ready to make changes, said Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae.

He said Gamponia attended college and had been “a hard worker, a good friend and family member” before he started using methamphetamine.

“He’s had a hard time staying clean,” Raidmae said. “He wants to be the person he used to be.”

A report prepared for Gamponia’s sentencing said he began smoking methamphetamine with his mother in 2013, Raidmae said. “That is not the kind of example he needed in his life, when the person you should be able to trust the most is smoking ice with you,” he said.

Judge Loo followed a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution that recommended probation and the six-month jail term for Gamponia.

“It’s sad when you hear a child is smoking meth with his parent,” she said to Gamponia. “I hope it’s not the legacy you want to pass down on any of your future children.”

Gamponia was ordered to pay $2,664 in restitution to the Maui Police Department.

His driver’s license was revoked for three years.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.