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Suspect in officer's death released

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:56 p.m. HST, Sep 15, 2011

The 20-year-old Waianae man who was arrested Tuesday in the traffic accident death of a police officer has been released from jail pending further investigation.

Police arrested James Dorsey Mancao for negligent homicide and negligent injury at the site of the accident on Farrington Highway. It is normal in traffic cases for suspects to be released from custody without being charged as the investigation continues.

Alcohol is not suspected as a factor in the accident, police have said.

Herman "Sam" Scanlan, a 14-year police veteran, was also injured in the crash and is hospitalized at Queen's Medical Center. 

Mancao is a fire support specialist with the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team. He graduated from basic training and advanced Army training schools in March.

Police said Scanlan stopped a 1997 tan Jeep Cherokee with an expired vehicle registration decal in the left Waianae-bound lane of Farrington Highway just before the Ko Olina offramp at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A pickup truck driven by Mancao hit Fontes, a police officer for six years, in the grassy median by the concrete divider on the highway, police said. One of the vehicles hit Scanlan, who was also on the grassy median. Traffic investigators said Fontes was hit in the back by the suspect's vehicle.

A memorial for Fontes is growing at the Kapolei substation. Police have warned motorists not to leave flowers at the accident scene because of the danger that someone else may be injured or killed while on the median.

At the Kapolei substation this morning, police Maj. Ray Acheta said of Fontes and Scanlan, “They gave our younger officers big brothers they could rely on.”

Fontes' death is the 41st traffic fatality on Oahu this year, compared with 40 at the same time last year. 

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