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Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after crashing truck into hardened lava on Big Isle

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Hawaii island police arrested a 55-year-old man after he circumvented a traffic checkpoint and crashed his vehicle into a hardened lava flow which had crossed Highway 132.

At about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, a man drove up to a police checkpoint at the intersection of Highway 137 (Beach Road) and Highway 132, otherwise known as “Four Corners.” He identified himself as a resident of an area known as “Cinder Land” nearby and demanded passage to drive up Highway 132 to view the lava.

He was instructed to turn around.

About an hour later, another resident brought the man back to the checkpoint with lacerations and injuries to his head and face. The man told police he had smashed his pickup truck into some lava but was not sure where it had occurred.

Officers found the man’s 1993 Toyota pickup with front-end damage near the 5-mile marker of Highway 132 (about two miles above “Four Corners”). The accident was caused by the impact of the cooled edge of the lava flow which had crossed Highway 132.

The man, a Government Beach Road resident, was transported to Hilo Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

Upon investigation of the traffic collision, officers detected signs of intoxication and subsequently arrested the man for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants. He was also cited for loitering and refusing to leave a designated evacuation zone, in addition to failing to wear his seatbelt.

The man, who was admitted to Hilo Medical Center, was released pending further investigation on the OVUII charge.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call officer Elik Vodovoz of the Puna District at 965-2716 or the police non-emergency telephone number 935-3311.

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