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Crimes catch up with fleeing felon

WAILUKU — After running through a house and dodging cars to cross a highway while fleeing from police, a man had his crimes catch up with him last week when he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Kevin Lifoifoi, 36, of Kahului was seen driving stolen cars before he ran from police in two instances.

“Are you training for a marathon? Are you training for a race? Are you training for a steeplechase?” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said in sentencing Lifoifoi on Jan. 22. “Instead of cooperating, you run and you run and you run.

“You would have saved a lot of wear and tear on your tennis shoes.”

In one case, Lifoifoi was seen driving a 2016 Nissan Sentra that was stolen from Cruisin Maui Campers in Kahului on Feb. 18, when the keys and a generator also were stolen.

License plates on the car had been switched when Lifoifoi ignored police officers, who saw him in the vehicle and told him not to start the car. Lifoifoi started the car. When officers told him to get out of the car, he refused and put the vehicle in drive.

An officer reached in to take the keys before Lifoifoi jumped out and ran across Kaiolohia Street in Kihei.

“That was the start of the wild goose chase,” Loo said.

Lifoifoi ran through the house of a man cooking dinner at about 5 p.m., then crisscrossed Piilani Highway, “playing dodgeball with live cars,” while running toward Kihei Villages, Loo said.

She said Lifoifoi tripped on a guardrail or rock, rolling in a ditch, before police caught him. Then he held his arms to the side as officers arrested him.

“They basically had to carry you back up and drag you to the police car,” Loo told Lifoifoi.

In the stolen car, police reported finding drugs, paraphernalia and Lifoifoi’s name on an eReminder notice that is sent to defendants in court cases.

In another case, on Nov. 11, 2018, Lifoifoi was seen driving a 2001 Honda Civic that was stolen from The Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course in Kahului. He also ran from officers, who had to chase him, Loo said.

Lifoifoi had asked to be placed on probation after spending about 11 months in jail.

“He’s had good behavior while incarcerated,” said defense attorney Matthew Padgett.

In sentencing Lifoifoi to prison, Judge Loo said he continued to commit new crimes after being placed on probation a few years earlier.

In 2011, Lifoifoi was sentenced to a one-year jail term as part of five years’ probation for participating in robbing a man at Haycraft Park in Maalaea.

In his two latest cases, Lifoifoi had pleaded no contest to two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, second-degree theft, removing or altering identification marks, fourth-degree theft, second-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling and resisting arrest.

In another sentencing Jan. 22, a 37-year-old Kahului man was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service as part of two years’ probation for abusing his partner.

Dwon O’Dell was given credit for more than two months he had spent in jail.

After the couple argued May 11, police were called and issued O’Dell a 72-hour warning citation requiring him to stay away from the residence, said Deputy Prosecutor Annalisa Bernard Lee. She said he returned during the cooling-off period and an argument turned physical when O’Dell slapped and punched the other man.

When police arrived, they at first thought O’Dell was the victim because he had what looked like blood spattered on his face.

“But it turns out the blood spatter all over your face was food coloring,” Loo said.

His boyfriend reported that when he called police, O’Dell began punching himself in the face, then got the food coloring and poured it over his hands. The victim said O’Dell also got a Shop-Vac hose and started to hit himself.

“I guess you’re taking fake news, fake blood, to a new level,” Judge Loo told O’Dell. “You were not in any bad shape at all.”

O’Dell acknowledged the relationship had been volatile. “We’re just trying to make everything work,” he said. “We love each other very much.”

As part of his probation, O’Dell was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to write a letter apologizing to the victim.

He had pleaded no contest to three counts of abuse.

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

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