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Police hunt for man who crashed truck on Punchbowl Street

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:12 a.m. HST, Feb 22, 2013

Police are hunting for one of two men after the pickup truck they were in crashed into newspaper dispensing machines on the corner of Punchbowl and Pohukaina streets early Thursday afternoon.

At about 12:50 p.m., two men fled into Waterfront Plaza after crashing in a black Dodge Dakota truck. Police arrived seconds later and caught one man by a public bathroom in the complex. A witness said officers had to forcibly restrain him before making the arrest.

Police officers and the HPD helicopter were still searching for the other man.

Police said the chase began at Makapuu Beach Park when they tried to arrest the men for allegedly breaking into cars there.

The pursuit continued through Kailua, over the Pali Highway and ended when the speeding pickup truck failed to make the turn at Punchbowl and Pohukaina and crashed into newspaper boxes on Pohukaina Street.

“We heard a huge screeching noise (before the truck jumped a curb),” said Stephanie Randles, who was eating lunch with a friend at a bench at Waterfront Plaza, about 25 feet from the crash scene.

“Within seconds after the truck sped by, I heard the screeching of tires, glanced back, and saw the truck climb the curb and smash into some newspaper vending machines,” said Star-Advertiser reporter Rob Perez, who witnessed the crash.”Fortunately, no one was in the crosswalk when the truck zoomed through it.”

Officers recovered a back pack that one of the men dropped immediately after exiting the truck.

No injuries were reported.

Nearby Voyager Public Charter School on Halekauwila Street is on a “modified” lockdown this afternoon, according to school Principal Mary Beth Barr.

“We have the kids inside, we’re keeping them all in and the doors are all locked,” she said. “Teachers are escorting students if they need to go anywhere.”

“We didn’t get any official word that we should be on lockdown, but we’re doing it just to be cautious,” Barr said, noting that a couple of students' parents work for the sheriffs department and HPD.

The school, with 286 students, had been on lockdown for most of Wednesday as police searched for Teddy Munet.

“It’s rough, but part of it is being a downtown school,” Barr said. “Yesterday was the first day we’d had to be on lockdown. Today, I don’t know what to make of it. I’m not sure if it’s a full moon, or what.”

A Department of Education spokeswoman said no other public schools in the area had been placed on lockdown.

It's the second manhunt in two days in the Kakaako area near the Circuit Court building. On Wednesday, police and state sheriffs combed the area for more than 11 hours looking for escaped murder suspect Munet.

Star-Advertiser reporters Gary Kubota, Marcel Honoré, Rob Perez, Nanea Kalani and Ed Lynch contributed to this story.

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