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Van runs over police officer
The suspect is a felon who allegedly struck another officer Nov. 9
By Leila Fujimori and Rod Antone

An undercover Kalihi police officer was critically injured yesterday when struck by a van in the parking lot of Honolulu Community College driven by a man who allegedly hit the foot of another police officer with a stolen car Nov. 9.

Police investigators combed the scene yesterday at the Honolulu Community College parking lot where a Honolulu police officer was the victim of a hit and run. The officer was taken to Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.

Police conducted a door-to-door search of the Punahou area but failed to find the suspect after finding the getaway van abandoned on Alexander Street just above the H-1 freeway. The search was discontinued last night.

The officer, Jeffrey Omai, a four-year veteran of the police force, was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition with head injuries and possible internal injuries. Omai is also a longtime member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and was training to be a navigator aboard the voyaging canoe Hokule'a.

The suspect is believed to be a convicted felon, the same man who previously struck another Kalihi police officer in the foot Nov. 9 in Kalihi using a stolen vehicle.

The suspect is described as about 43 years old, Hawaiian-Portuguese, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 210 pounds. He is wanted for first-degree attempted murder.

He has eight prior convictions including auto theft, terroristic threatening and reckless driving.

Maj. Susan Ballard, commander of the Honolulu Police Department's Kalihi district, said three to four crime reduction unit officers were looking for the suspect for an earlier auto theft case in Kalihi.

The CRU officers knew the suspect had been involved in the Nov. 9 incident in which he struck a Kalihi police officer in the foot and leg at Kealoha Street near Gulick Avenue.

According to sources close to the investigation, the officers spotted the suspect, and he saw them and allegedly accelerated toward them. The van was also tied to a robbery yesterday morning at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The other officers managed to get out of the way, but Omai, who had exited from the rear of the van, did not see him coming, sources said.

Jason Kotani, 20, a car salesman at the Cutter Dodge across Dillingham Boulevard, "heard tires peeling out."

Kotani saw a white van drive out of the parking lot heading toward King Street.
He then saw three to four men dressed in shorts and T-shirts using walkie-talkies, who he later learned were undercover officers, running after it.

"We thought it was a drug deal," Kotani said.

Kotani said he saw a bunch of people huddling around something on the ground in the community college parking lot.

"We found out it was a police officer," he said.

Kotani said some of the officers appeared visibly upset.

"It's very disheartening and very saddening," said Ballard. "We had another shooting in May with another CRU officer, so it's very upsetting."

In the Nov. 9 incident, the police officer, 45, was on his way to work at the Kalihi Substation when he saw the driver of a white, two-door Ford Fiesta speeding and driving recklessly.

The officer followed the car, police said, and pulled the driver over at about 5:50 a.m. As the officer approached the car, the driver reversed and hit the officer's foot and leg, police said.

The driver then hit a parked car and fled. The officer was taken to the Queen's Medical Center, where he was reported in good condition.

Police found the Fiesta abandoned along Hanaloa Street in Ewa Beach at about 6:30 a.m. The car had been stolen from Kalihi on Nov. 1.

http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/03/news/story1.html

Posted Sat Dec 04 2004, 08:43:

Posted on: Friday, December 3, 2004 6:52 PM HST
Man who allegedly struck police officer caught
Daniel Vesper III arrested in Kalihi
Associated Press

A man who allegedly struck a police officer with a van was apprehended in Kalihi tonight, authorities said.
The capture of Daniel Vesper III, 43, ended an intense 24-hour manhunt on Oahu. He was taken into custody just after 6 p.m. on Umi Street.

Officer Jeffrey K. Omai was critically injured Thursday evening when he was struck by a van he tried pulled over in the parking lot of Honolulu Community College, police officials said.

The suspect fled in the white van following the crash to the Punahou area where he ditched the vehicle and ran away, police said.

The van was also tied to a robbery Thursday morning at the University of Hawaii.

Vesper is also accused of striking another Kalihi police officer in the foot and leg on Nov. 9 in Kalihi using a stolen vehicle. He has eight prior convictions including auto theft, terroristic threatening and reckless driving.

Omai, 35, a longtime member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, was upgraded to serious condition this morning at the Queen's Medical Center.
 
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