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Driver who rammed 2 officers in Waikele gets 10 years in prison

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 3:59 p.m. HST, Sep 20, 2011

A man who pleaded guilty to injuring two police officers when he rammed two police cars with a stolen SUV in Waikele in November 2009 was sentenced to 10 years in prison this morning.

Jeremiah Lopez III, 25, of Makaha, was also ordered to pay $500 restitution by Circuit Judge Randal Lee.

Lopez pleaded guilty in June to assault and other charges. The prosecutor’s office, in turn, promised to recommend a prison term of no more than 10 years. Prosecutors also agreed to dismiss several other charges, including a robbery count that carried a mandatory 20-year prison term.

“I’d like to apologize for what I’ve done,” Lopez said. “I’m very remorseful.”

Deputy Public Defender Craig Nagamine said Lopez is taking responsibility for “his bad judgment” that led to his actions on Nov. 3, 2009, when he rammed two police officers with a Dodge Durango at the Waikele KFC Restaurant drive-through lane. After he hit the two police officers, Lopez was shot twice in the chest and once in his right arm. “He’s really glad the officers weren’t seriously injured,” Nagamine said.

Deputy Prosecutor Darrell Wong said one of the officers has returned to work while the other remains out due to complications from the injuries he sustained that day.

“You’ve made some bad choices in your life,” Lee said as he sentenced Lopez. “While you’re in jail you should reflect on what choices you’ve made and where you’re going to go. Because you’re going to get paroled. The question is what you’re going to do once you get out.”

One of Lopez’s passengers in the SUV, 26-year-old Cherish Craig, is awaiting sentencing for her role in the incident. She pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor assault. A third person arrested in the SUV is not facing prosecution.

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