Drunk car thief sentenced to 10 years

A Kapa‘a man who evaded police while driving under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamines before crashing a stolen car into a house last year was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday, according to a news release from prosecuting attorney Craig De Costa.

Christopher Almeida, 29, entered no contest pleas in April to felony charges of first-degree criminal property damage and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, plus the petty misdemeanor of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.

“When you take all three into account, that’s what makes this crime so egregious,” De Costa said in an interview with The Garden Island yesterday. “I think it’s a just (sentence) considering his criminal history and the details of this case.”

Almeida has prior convictions for second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal trespass, assault against a police officer, criminal contempt of court, fourth-degree theft, harassment and various traffic crimes, the statement said.

Almeida has been incarcerated since his arrest just after midnight on June 25, 2007, and will receive credit for time already served as stipulated by statute.

In addition to the jail time, Almeida was ordered by 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe to pay $6,805 in restitution to the two victims of his crimes.

Of that total, $6,305 is derived from the Kelley Blue Book value of the 1994 two-door Ford Mustang convertible lent to Almeida by his cousin before it was not returned as agreed on June 23, 2007.

The next day, authorities signaled Almeida to stop the vehicle in Kapa‘a town at around 11 p.m., but he fled the scene, colliding into a police cruiser before escaping.

Police gave chase but lost sight of the vehicle, a press release stated at the time.

At around 11:20 p.m., police received an emergency call about a vehicle crashing into a Kapahi home and the driver fleeing on foot.

Emergency crews transported an injured male occupant, who was watching television in the living room when the crash occurred, to Wilcox Memorial Hospital for treatment.

A woman later drove to the scene of the crash and reported to police that Almeida was hiding in her home a few doors down, according to the release.

The other $500 in restitution is to go to the owner of the damaged home as compensation for the insurance deductible.

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