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Molokai highway drama ends safely

  • COURTESY MOLOKAI POLICE DEPT.
    Officer Kyle Bishaw-Juario of the Molokai Police Dept. maneuvered his patrol vehicle in front of an out-of-control Civic traveling ~70mph down Maunaloa Highway and was able to stop the vehicle without casualty.
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Listen to MP3 of 911 call  A driver, unable to stop his vehicle on Maunaloa Highway, calls 911 at 9:54 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18.

Molokai resident Gaig Yap said he’s seen high-speed car chases in films but never thought he’d be the subject of one. 

In a drama fitting of "Hawaii Five-0," a Molokai police officer used his patrol car to stop Yap’s  speeding, out-of-control vehicle on Maunaloa Highway.

"My gear was stuck," Yap, 19, recalled yesterday. "My clutch wasn’t working. My brakes wasn’t working, either." 

Yap said he had picked up his mail at Kualapuu just before 10 a.m. Dec. 18 and was heading home to Kaunakakai with his sister’s 1993 Honda Civic when the accelerator froze and he began to pick up speed.

Yap called 911 when he was unable to stop or slow by shifting into neutral or a lower gear. And Yap said he couldn’t shut off the engine without locking the steering column. He said the vehicle had earlier transmission problems.

"My car was losing control, and I couldn’t turn off the car," he said. "I was just hoping I don’t bang anybody."

Luckily, Yap said, there was no traffic when he made a left turn onto Maunaloa Highway heading toward Kaunakakai.

Soon he was barreling at 70 mph toward the island’s most populous town.

Calling on a cell phone, Yap calmly reported his predicament and said he was in a white Honda.

"You got your clutch and your brake on and it’s still not slowing down?" asked a police dispatcher.

"Yeah, I’m not slowing down….My car is swerving. Please. I’m losing control."

Yap recalled he saw a police car pass him going in the opposite direction, then saw another  accelerating at a high speed to catch him.

He recognized the officer as his cousin, Kyle Bishaw-Juario.

Bishaw-Juario maneuvered his patrol vehicle in front of the Civic, then slowed.

The cars bumped, then Yap’s car pressed against the rear bumper.

On the 911 recording, Yap is breathing heavily at this point.

The vehicles neared the busy intersection at Alamalama Avenue.

"I can’t stop! I can’t stop!" he cries.

Bishaw-Juario applied the brakes for about 100 yards before bringing the car to a stop in front of the Paddler’s Inn restaurant. The engine died.

"Thank you, thank you!" Yap exclaims. "Thank you, brah." 

Yap’s two sisters, Brej Duvachelle and Kabbie Bicoy, happened to be in Kaunakakai and rushed to the car, crying with relief, according to the tape.

The Civic suffered a cracked front grill and bumper scratches and the patrol vehicle also had scratches on its bumper.

Neither Yap nor his sisters nor Bishaw-Juario was injured. Yap was described as "quite shaken," but apparently glad that nothing worse occurred.

"I feel pretty fortunate," he said.

 

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