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Driving multiple stolen cars leads to jail

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A one-year jail term was ordered for a man who was released after being caught in a stolen vehicle, then went on to flee from police and drive other stolen vehicles despite not having a driver’s license.

Devon-Werner Kalua-Ma-nuel, 23, of Wailuku was placed on four years’ probation as part of his sentence last week.

“I don’t know if math was your strong subject in school, but you just compounded your situation,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said in sentencing Kalua-Manuel.

She said he should have stopped when he stole a vehicle at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on Jan. 22, 2019. Kalua-Manuel was recognized as the one in the driver’s seat when the owner later found the truck at Hale Nanea on Amala Place in Kahului.

After pleading no contest in that case, Kalua-Manuel was released from jail on supervision April 17 while awaiting sentencing.

Police reported he was driving while his license was suspended for DUI on June 7, and July 21 and 22.

Kalua-Manuel was driving a stolen car when he ran three red lights and drove into oncoming traffic while fleeing from police in Kahului the night of July 22 before abandoning the car and hiding in brush near the beach at Hoaloha Park, police reported.

In four criminal cases, he had pleaded no contest to three counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, two counts of resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle and three counts of driving while his license was suspended or revoked for DUI.

Other charges were dismissed in exchange for his pleas.

Chad Leggett, whose 1998 Ford pickup truck was one of the vehicles stolen, said he had to get new identification and bank cards, as well as replace stolen tools so he could continue working as a carpenter.

Leggett said he didn’t want to see Kalua-Manuel released from jail.

“Obviously, he doesn’t care about anybody but himself,” Leggett said in court. “It’s not fair to the community to have somebody like him out there.”

Kalua-Manuel said he was sorry and has a “serious addiction.”

“He makes very immature and very rash decisions,” said Deputy Public Defender Danielle Sears. “He was always scared of getting caught driving, so he would keep driving. He was involved with other people who were also committing crimes. He should have stopped.”

Judge Loo said that was the problem.

“The problem is you didn’t stop. You passed go,” she told Kalua-Manuel. “You committed another crime.”

“Frankly, you hurt a lot of innocent people,” she said. “You endangered people’s lives.”

Kalua-Manuel was ordered to pay $3,598 in restitution to Leggett.

He also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and write letters apologizing to Leggett and two other victims whose vehicles were stolen.

His driver’s license was revoked for two additional years.