18 months in jail for New Year’s hit and run

WAILUKU — A Lahaina man is serving an 18-month jail term for fleeing after he crashed a stolen truck into another vehicle, seriously injuring a woman, on New Year’s Day last year.

Lordbrenz Ramos, 23, was placed on four years’ probation as part of his sentence imposed Feb. 7.

After already spending more than a year in jail, Ramos was ready to participate in drug treatment, said Deputy Public Defender Heather Brown.

She said he was affected by a letter from the injured woman, who described her emotional and physical path to recovery. “To say that he was moved by it would be an understatement,” Brown said.

In a letter to the woman, Ramos said hearing her letter “really hurt me, but rightfully so, to hear this evil monster I became.”

His letter said he took “full responsibility for nearly taking your life and you away from your loved ones.”

The crash occurred Jan. 1, 2018, when Ramos, who was driving a stolen truck, crashed into the woman’s sport utility vehicle, which was heading in the opposite direction on Honoapiilani Highway near the scenic outlook.

Ramos, who said he had fallen asleep, ran away after the crash and was arrested in Maalaea, said Deputy Prosecutor Mike Kagami.

Ramos had pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug.

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said Ramos caused the woman “great pain and suffering.”

Cahill referred to part of the woman’s letter saying that if Ramos wanted to act “like a self-indulgent, irresponsible and naughty kid — like a child, he belongs in a pen. You belong in a penitentiary.”

Although Ramos said he had been looking into other treatment programs, Cahill said he ordered the 18-month jail term to give Ramos time to try to be admitted into the Maui Drug Court program of intensive treatment and supervision.

“He is going to go to Drug Court or, frankly, nothing at all,” Cahill said. “If I don’t see him at a Drug Court graduation in several years, that’s not going to be good for Mr. Ramos.

“He’s young enough to go into the program and benefit by it. I think that is the best option to give him some opportunity to get a life.”

In another case, Ramos had pleaded no contest to second-degree burglary of Olowalu General Store on Aug. 11, 2017.

Ramos was ordered to pay $13,906 in restitution to the woman injured in the crash and $646 to the Olowalu General Store owner. The glass door to the store was broken in the burglary. Stolen merchandise was returned.

Ramos was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs. He was ordered not to enter Olowalu General Store.

When he committed the crimes, Ramos had been given a chance to keep a second-degree theft conviction off his record. His deferral in that case was revoked and he was resentenced to probation.

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