LIHUE — A Kapaa man who led police on a high-speed chase Friday morning that ended when he crashed into a utility pole on Kuhio Highway pleaded not guilty Tuesday to all of the eight charges against him, three of which are class C felonies — two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and one count of promoting a dangerous drug.
Adrian Arrisgado, 19, was arrested along with three passengers in the car who were later released pending further investigation, according to a Kauai Police Department news release.
Arrisgado also faces charges stemming from his alleged involvement in another similar incident that occurred a couple days prior to his arrest.
According to county public information officials, police had been on the lookout for Arrisgado in connection with a Nov. 14 traffic collision in Kapaa involving a 2009 Kia Rio that had been reported missing from a home on Kapuna Road in Kilauea two days before. By the time police responded, the car’s occupants had fled the scene, but a preliminary investigation led police to suspect Arrisgado.
Police said the second incident began about 9 a.m. Friday after a bystander called to report a possibly stolen vehicle driving down Kuhio Highway near Inia Street in Kapaa.
When a patrol car attempted to pull over the Toyota Corolla Arrisgado was driving,“the vehicle then fled north at a high speed on Kuhio Highway, lost control and collided into a utility pole,” according to police.
“The outer casing shattered and the transformers fell on the ground. Liquid poured out. Sparks were flying,” said one man who saw the crash. Cleanup of the car wreck disrupted traffic for several hours and caused a power outage, but no serious injuries were reported.
Arrisgado appeared in court Tuesday with a small bruise under one eye to face a total of eight charges related to the two stolen and wrecked cars, which police allege he drove without a license. He is also charged with possession of an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine.
Fifth Circuit District Judge Michael Soong denied a request by Arrisgado’s defense attorney to excuse or reduce Arrisgado’s bail, which is set at $25,000. Soong said that based on the charges and a statement by the county prosecutor — a brief description of the high-speed pursuit, alleging that Arrisgado also fled the scene of the accident on foot — he believed “the defendant is at a high risk to either not appear or to recidivate.”
In addition to the felony auto theft and drug possession charges — each of the three counts carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison or a $10,000 fine — Arrisgado faces five misdemeanor charges: resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, reckless driving, inattention to driving and two counts of driving without a license.
Arrisgado is scheduled to appear in court again Friday for a preliminary hearing.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.