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Man charged with running Puna checkpoint near approaching lava

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  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald

    Hawaii Police Department officers man a checkpoint on Highway 132.

Hawaii island police arrested a man after he allegedly sped through a traffic-control checkpoint on Government Beach Road just north of the intersection with Highway 132 as an active lava flow approached.

The suspect is identified as an Allan Bartels, 62, Kapoho.

At about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, a man drove up to the Government Beach Road (Highway 137) checkpoint, just north of Highway 132, also known as the “Four Corners” intersection. Upon being informed that the road was closed, he disregarded the officer’s commands and sped through the checkpoint, police said.

Officers pursued the man’s van with flashing lights and a siren in an attempt to stop it. However, he continued south approaching two Hawaii County workers standing on the road who were attempting to flag the van down. One worker had to jump off the road to avoid being struck.

Officers pursued the suspect to a residence just above Government Beach Road and arrested him. They rushed back out of the area through the “Four Corners” intersection, with the lava flow within 50 to 100 feet from crossing the roadway and cutting off an exit route.

Bartels was later charged with refusing to evacuate, obstructing government operations, resisting an order to stop motor vehicle, reckless driving and two counts of reckless endangering in the second degree. He was unable to post $3,750 bail and remains at the Hilo detention center.

Anyone with further information is asked to call officer Duane Rapoza of the Puna District at 965-2716 or the police non-emergency telephone number 935-3311.

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>> Live webcams from Hawaii island
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>> Pyroclasts inundate Leilani Estates as lava continues to flow, May 31
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>> Aerial view of lava flow in Leilani Estates, May 29

>> Star-Advertiser volcano coverage
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