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Pickup truck smashes through Kihei store

Store’s assistant manager feared for his life; police arrest driver

Assistant Manager Ty Abbott leaps to safety after a pickup truck crashed through Hi-Tech Surf Sports in Kihei on Wednesday afternoon. Abbott later said he believed the driver was trying to hit him. Photos courtesy Kim Ball

A 20-year-old Kihei man was arrested Wednesday after a pickup truck was driven multiple times through Hi-Tech Surf Sports in Kihei, nearly hitting an employee and destroying windows, doors and fixtures.

The employee was nearly run over by the truck, which smashed through the building at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Hi-Tech owner Kim Ball.

He estimated the damage at $200,000, with front windows, back doors, inventory and fixtures destroyed.

“Basically, 35 percent of the store got destroyed, probably 35 percent of inventory,” Ball said Thursday.

Assistant Manager Ty Abbott said he was alone in the shop when he heard tires screeching and looked out the back window.

Surveillance footage shows a pickup truck barreling through Hi-Tech Surf Sports in Kihei on Wednesday afternoon. Police arrested a 20-year-old Kihei man in connection with the incident.

“Right as I looked out, the truck came through the store,” he said.

He ran around the counter and jumped before the truck reversed toward him and hit the door frame, Abbott said.

Then the driver accelerated forward through the front window, shattering it, before reversing out the back of the store, Abbott said.

Police said the driver and vehicle had fled when officers responded to the store at 2021 S. Kihei Road at 4:43 p.m.

Based on witnesses’ descriptions of the vehicle and driver, officers located the suspected vehicle along Auhana Road, police said. Officers located the suspect after searching the immediate area.

The truck drove through the store multiple times, causing an estimated $200,000 in damage, the store owner said.

The man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree criminal property damage and was transported to the Wailuku Police Station, where he was being held Thursday, police said.

As the truck was leaving the shop, Abbott said he recognized the driver as someone he has seen in the area. Abbott said he believes the driver “tried to hit me” with the truck.

“I wasn’t physically hit,” he said. “I’m pretty mentally shaken up.

“I’m more worried that the gravity of the situation might be overshadowed by the property damage. I did and I still do fear for my life.”

Abbott said surveillance video shows the truck turning off South Kihei Road onto Auhana Road, then into the parking lot behind the store and accelerating into the back of the store.

The store remained closed Thursday.

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

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