Police make dramatic arrest at DUI checkpoint set up to honor Maui teen killed by drunk driver

Maui police officers made a dramatic arrest at a sobriety checkpoint on Wednesday.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 11:27 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2022 at 12:58 AM HST
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WAIKAPU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui police officers made a dramatic arrest Wednesday night at a sobriety checkpoint set up to honor a Maui teen killed by a drunk driver in 2019.

Hannah Brown was 19 years old when she was killed.

“We’ll never get to watch our daughter get married. We’ll never watch her have children. We’ll never get to see her smile,” said Hannah’s mom, Charlene.

Various community members gathered at the SHOPO Maui office in Wailuku on Wednesday for the Fourth annual Hannah Brown Memorial Impaired Driving Awareness Rally. The Brown family was joined by other families who also tragically lost loved ones because of intoxicated drivers.

“Holidays are the toughest time for our family because it’s the time we get together and spend quality time, and he’s no longer in the seat next to me,” said Dane Sadang, who lost her son Kahiau Hill in 2021.

“Thank you for being here and helping us remember our families. Helping us to remember why we’re doing all of this, because we want to save at least one life. If we do that, then we’ve done our job,” said Jerry Maniago, father of Kaio Fukushima, who was killed in 2009.

After the press conference, the group made their way down to Kuihelani Highway near Waiko Road, where Brown was killed three years ago.

Maui police conducted a sobriety checkpoint while family members held signs and passed out pamphlets to drivers about the importance of driving sober.

During the checkpoint, offices pulled a man aside who was suspected of driving under the influence.

After failing the field sobriety test, the officer tried to take him into custody. However, the man resisted.

Multiple officers jumped into action and brought him to the ground. But even their combined force wasn’t enough, and officers ended up firing their Tasers before finally getting him under control.

“We here at MPD take a zero-tolerance stance for impaired driving. If you decide to drive impaired, we will find you and you will be arrested,” said MPD traffic commander LT. Kenneth Kihata.

Officers suspect the man who was arrested was driving under the influence of drugs.

Organizers of the rally said Wednesday night’s arrest is exactly why they host these campaigns — to hopefully save lives on the road.

“We don’t seem to be learning from these tragedies. The fact that we’re one of the highest rates for impaired fatalities in the country is not something you want to be proud of,” said Rick Collins, Hawaii Alcohol Policy Alliance project director.

The man’s vehicle was towed from the checkpoint.

“There definitely needs to be some changes in the laws. Absolutely, unequivocally, we need stricter laws. It has to happen. Very simple, a 0.05 law has to happen,” said William Hankins, retired MPD traffic commander.

There have been 17 traffic fatalities in Maui County so far this year. That’s compared to 15 traffic fatalities during the same time last year.

MPD says of those 17 fatalities, 100% are speed, alcohol, or drug-related.

On Wednesday, the county building was lit up in orange in honor of those who died because of an impaired driving.

Also on Wednesday, “Remember Hannah Brown” signs were up along roads across Maui.

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