Man charged in high speed chase in heavy traffic

WAILUKU — After speeding more than 100 mph and weaving in and out of traffic to elude a police officer, a driver was identified when he passed another officer in heavy traffic, witnesses said.

Arley Del Rio, 28, of Makawao was identified as the driver during a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Wailuku District Court.

Solo bike officer Alvin Ota said he was doing traffic enforcement near Mile Marker 5 on Maui Veterans Highway when he saw a white Toyota Highlander going 81 mph in a 45-mph zone at 4:19 p.m. June 26.

A Caucasian man wearing sunglasses and a black hoodie was driving the vehicle, Ota said.

He followed the Kihei-bound vehicle.

“Once I activated my lights and sirens, the vehicle began to accelerate,” Ota said.

As he neared Kealia Pond, Ota said he noticed heavy traffic and saw that his speedometer indicated he was going more than 100 mph as he tried to keep up with the Toyota.

As they approached the Kealia Pond entrance, the vehicle swerved from the inner lane to the outer lane and back to overtake a vehicle, which braked to avoid a collision, Ota said. Then, he said the Toyota swerved into the yellow striped median to speed past other vehicles.

Ota said he followed on the median before determining it was unsafe to continue the pursuit and turned off his lights and sirens.

“Several vehicles had to step on the brakes and drive through the shoulder area to avoid collisions,” Ota said. “At that point, I stopped.”

He said his last view of the vehicle was as it drove on the shoulder and turned right onto North Kihei Road.

Ota had obtained the license plate number of the Toyota, which was registered to West Maui Motors. He said he learned the vehicle had been leased an hour earlier to Del Rio.

Ota transmitted the information through police dispatch, and Detective Harry Matsuura Jr. heard the transmission.

He had left Lahaina and was driving toward Central Maui on Honoapiilani Highway near McGregor Point when he saw the Toyota Highlander.

With traffic slowed to about 30 mph in both directions, Matsuura said he could see the uncovered face of the Toyota driver, a Caucasian male wearing a black hoodie.

When he got to work the next day, Matsuura said he looked at Del Rio’s mug shot and recognized him as the driver.

“That’s him right there, sitting down,” Matsuura said, pointing at Del Rio in court Tuesday.

Judge Kirstin Hamman found there was probable to support the charge of first-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle.

Del Rio also is charged with reckless driving and excessive speeding.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 17 in 2nd Circuit Court.

Del Rio is free after posting $5,300 bail.

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

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