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Honolulu officer struck and critically injured at tunnel crash

Officer was pinned between his vehicle and a parked vehicle while directing traffic at an earlier crash in the Harano Tunnel

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By Rosemarie Bernardo
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

HONOLULU — A Honolulu police officer was critically injured after he was struck by a vehicle while conducting traffic control for a separate crash in the Harano Tunnel of the H-3 freeway late Sunday.

Honolulu police said a 25-year-old motorist was traveling eastbound in the left lane of the freeway and swerved to avoid a vehicle stopped on the roadway just after 11:50 p.m.

As the motorist veered into the right lane, he struck the 46-year-old officer who was conducting traffic control for an earlier crash.

The motorist continued forward and pinned the officer between his vehicle and a parked vehicle in the right lane.

He was taken in critical condition to a hospital.

Police said the 25-year-old motorist remained at the scene and was not injured.

Speed, drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash.

The officer has 15 years of service with the Honolulu Police Department and is assigned to District 4 which covers Kaneohe, Kailua and Kahuku.

Police did not release the officer’s name.

In a statement today, Police Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan said, “We are supporting him and his family and ask that the media respect their privacy at this time.”

Police are continuing their investigation.

Robert Cavaco, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said, “Our prayers are with our brother officer who was critically injured while handling a vehicle collision scene when a separate vehicle hit our officer. SHOPO officers statewide are sending their love and prayers to him and his family.”

“This is a grim reminder that the danger in police work comes in many forms. Last week, it was a hammer-wielding suspect who bludgeoned our officer over the head to avoid arrest. Today, it’s a vehicle collision that severely injured our officer who was working a separate traffic collision scene. Our officers knowingly risk their bodies and lives every day to keep our community safe, and that’s something we should never forget,” Cavaco said in a statement today.

Prosecutors had charged Hokuokalani Patoc, 39, Friday after he allegedly attacked a police officer and took his subsidized vehicle in Laie a day earlier.

An hours long police pursuit ensued before officers arrested Patoc in front of Iolani Palace Thursday morning. He was charged with first-degree attempted murder and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. Patoc’s aggregate bail was set at $1 million.

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