LIHUE — A confrontation between two men in a Princeville parking lot earlier this year left one in the emergency room and the other with a second-degree assault charge.
Dr. Harold Joseph Rush, 71, was with his wife and his two small dogs walking between a hardware store and a bank when a speeding black Mercedes SUV allegedly came within three feet of hitting her, Rush told The Garden Island Tuesday.
Rush, of Princeville, said the car also almost hit another woman and her small child in a baby carriage nearby while people shouted at him to slow down. The woman and Rush screamed because they thought she was going be hit by the car, Rush said.
Rush, a former combat veteran who served in Vietnam, was arraigned Tuesday morning on one count of second-degree assault before Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano for allegedly punching the complaining witness in the face.
“When he got out of the car, he came at me, swearing,” Rush said. “He said to me, ‘You better back off or I’m going to kick your ass,’ As he came toward me, I defended myself.”
Rush, a Buddhist, said the altercation was out of character for him, but said he feared for his family.
“When I saw him, I froze,” Rush said. “It was plain fear. I went to talk to him, but he backed out and almost slammed into me.”
The complaining witness went to the emergency room later that day and had suffered an orbital fracture, according to medical records.
A call to the complaining witness in the case was not returned.
“He is alleged to have punched the complaining witness, breaking his eye socket,” said Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.
Kollar said the incident was witnessed by several people.
According to the media arrest log from the Kauai Police Department, which is reprinted nearly daily in The Garden Island, Rush was arrested for assault 2: knife.
But no knife or cutting instrument was used in the alleged incident on March 18, 2016, according to police reports.
Police read Rush the police reports of the alleged incident and the word knife never appears, Rush said.
County spokeswoman Sarah Blane confirmed no knife was used in the alleged March 18 incident and said that the label appears that way for Uniform Crime Reports purposes.
“In order to conform to universal reporting standards, the labels assigned to certain crimes can be unclear,” Blane said.
She said it’s important to note that the way a crime appears on the arrest log does not affect the criminal investigation of the case.
“None of the police reports on this incident refer to use of a knife; however, we understand Mr. Rush’s concern with how the crime appears on the daily arrest sheet and we will be looking at ways to improve that recording system.”
Assault in the second degree is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.