Big Island Police File Additional Charges Against 22-Year-Old Pahoa Man

Hawaiʻi Island police have filed additional charges against a 22-year-old Pāhoa man who is being featured this month on “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted.”

Airiel Jost

Airiel Rhodes Jost

On Thursday, police arrested Airiel Rhodes Jost on bench warrants for violating terms and conditions of his probation. He was also a suspect in other crimes.

On November 2, a 49-year-old man returned to his home on Uliana Drive in Pāhoa and found an unknown man in his house. The stranger exited the house and threatened the victim with a knife before leaving.

On November 8, a Mercedez Benz automobile was removed from the garage of a house on Kapoho Beach Road.

On November 14, a Mazda Miata sports car was stolen from a home on Luana Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision and later crashed.

Police investigation linked all three incidents to Jost. Friday afternoon, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section charged him with first-degree burglary, first-degree terroristic threatening, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and driving without a license. His bail was set at $57,000.

Jost is being featured this month on the cable access program “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” which was pre-recorded before his arrest.

The program airs on Na Leo O Hawaiʻi Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53


Kona Man Charged With a Dozen Offenses After Stealing Pickup Truck From Auto Dealer

A Kona man has been charged with a dozen offenses after a pickup truck was stolen from an auto dealer.

Last Friday (November 8), a 2004 Toyota pickup truck was stolen from a car dealership on Kanoelehua Avenue in Hilo. In addition, a lock to a gate was damaged, the establishment was entered and vehicle parts were removed.

Shortly after midnight on November 14, personal belongings were removed from a vehicle parked at Hilo Medical Center. Witnesses identified the suspect’s vehicle, which matched the description of the truck taken from the car dealership.

Later that morning, a patrol officer observed the truck on Komohana Street and attempted to make a traffic stop. The vehicle fled. It was located 10 minutes later in a residential area of the Kaumana area. When an officer approached the pickup, it almost hit a police car and fled from the area.

Jason Schloffel

Jason Schloffel

The truck was later located on a dirt road off Saddle Road near the 10-mile marker. The driver, who resisted arrest, was determined to be wanted for two cases of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle in Kona. Jason Schloffel, 23, of Kailua-Kona was arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Schloffel was charged with three counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, two counts of second-degree theft and one count each of first-degree reckless endangering, second-degree burglary, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, criminal property damage, resisting an order to stop, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. His bail was set at $83,000.

He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court hearing scheduled for Monday (November 18).

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Passenger That Jumped Off Cruise Ship Grand Princess

The Coast Guard suspended the search Friday for a female passenger reported overboard from the cruise ship Grand Princess approximately 750 miles northeast of Hilo.

A flare marks where the a sailor fell into the ocean when I was visiting the USS Essex.

A flare marks where the a sailor fell into the ocean when I was visiting the USS Essex.

Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Air Station Barber’s Point searched for approximately 20 hours.

A Navy P-3 Orion airplane crew from Navy Patrol Squadron FOUR based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe and the commercial tug and barge Moku Pahu also assisted in search efforts.

More than 10,000 square miles were searched.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center were notified at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday by the crew of the Grand Princess that the 54-year-old was overboard.

“Suspending a search is never an easy decision to make,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Zauner, command duty officer of the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center. “It’s done with much deliberation and after a concerted effort to ensure that the Coast Guard has adequately searched all probable locations for survivors. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones.”

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.


Man Dies When Tanker Truck Crashes on Big Island Spilling Thousands of Gallons of Fuel

A tanker truck crashed in South Kohala on Friday (November 15), killing the driver and spilling thousands of gallons of fuel.

HPDBadgeShortly after 2 p.m., South Kohala police responded to a traffic crash and determined that a tanker carrying approximately 8,400 gallons of diesel fuel was traveling in the makai direction on Kawaihae Road when it ran off the road and overturned between the 63- and 64-mile markers, spilling nearly half its load.

The driver was pinned inside the vehicle and died at the scene. His name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.

Kawaihae Road is closed in both directions and is expected to remain closed for several hours. Police Department personnel and Fire Department hazardous materials personnel are on the scene, as is a replacement tanker to transfer the remaining fuel.

Motorists are advised to use Waikoloa Road or Kohala Mountain Road until further notice.

Maui Member of State Board of Education Resigns Due to Time Constraints

The Maui member of the state Board of Education resigned effective the end of October.

A member of the original appointed board, Wesley Lo left the panel that governs the public school system eight months before his three-year term was to end in June.

Increasing responsibilities with his job as regional chief executive officer at Maui Memorial Medical Center effectively forced him to leave the Board of Education, he said Wednesday in an interview with The Maui News.

WESLEY LO Time constraints “just too much”

WESLEY LO Time constraints “just too much”

“The time constraints were just too much,” Lo said. “I was really depressed that I had to step down.”

In addition to being in charge of three hospitals in the county, Lo was given additional responsibilities from the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the quasi-public entity that runs Neighbor Island public hospitals, after the departure of Bruce Anderson, HHSC chief executive officer and president, in July.

Lo said he has been given the responsibility to look into possible public-private partnerships.

As far as replacing Lo, the governor is “considering all applicants and will be making an appointment as soon as possible,” said Christine Hirasa, deputy director of communications for the governor, in an email Wednesday.

The governor’s nominee to the volunteer post on the nine-member board must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Lo was a member of the inaugural governor-appointed Education Board in the spring of 2011. A state constitutional amendment passed in 2010 by voters switched the board from an elected to an appointed panel.

While having high regard for the elected board, Lo said he thought the appointed board worked well. “The idea was we could have some common vision as a board” without the worry of re-election, he said. He thought the appointed board could become more focused without the politics.

“It takes time for a board to develop,” he said. “We had our ups and downs. . . . We started jelling a little bit better and trusting members.”

One of the initial challenges for the new board was getting a handle on the size and complexity of the state Department of Education, the only statewide public school system in the country. He thought Maui Memorial with its 1,500 employees was a large entity, but the hospital pales in comparison to the DOE with 20,000 employees, 260 schools and a “budget not in the millions (but) . . . in the billions.”

“I guess that I was surprised at how big the Department of Education is . . . how complex it is,” he said. “It’s hard to maneuver. It took a lot of time to understand.”
He was thankful for the support and counsel he received from Maui County school superintendents Lindsay Ball and Alvin Shima and also Bruce Anderson (not the same as the former HHSC head), Shima’s predecessor who moved on to become Maui High School’s principal.

Lo also recalled a gathering with social studies teachers who provided him with information on graduation requirements.

“I realized how little I did know about the education system,” said Lo, whose children attend public schools and whose wife is a counselor at Maui High.

The departing board member had high praise for state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and her staff. Given the size and complexities of the DOE, Lo noted that it is difficult to make changes, saying “it’s like turning the aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean.”

“The superintendent and the board are taking some bold steps,” he said. “It will take time. It’s really exciting.”

He noted the Race to the Top initiatives, improving test scores and the implementation of teacher evaluations.

There were some things he would have liked to continue to work on, such as centralizing and reorganizing nonacademic functions. He cited, for example, creating a centralized food service system instead of the current school-by-school one. The goal of centralization and reorganization would be to allow principals and teachers to focus more of their time on academics, he said.

Locally, he had two issues he wishes he could “have seen through” – the opening of the Kihei high school and the Hawaiian immersion program. The long-sought high school received $130 million in construction funding in the last Legislative session, with construction expected to begin in July 2015. At Paia Elementary School, there is a move to turn the school into a fully Hawaiian immersion school.

“Both are controversial issues I was involved in and appreciated the community input,” he said.

Hilo Man Arrested in Connection With a Stolen Car

A Hilo man is in jail after being arrested in connection with a stolen car.

Last Friday (November 8) police responded to an 8:20 a.m. report that a 2011 Honda Fit sedan had been taken from outside a convenience store in Laupāhoehoe.

Franklin Enos

Franklin Enos

Police investigation led the identity of a suspect, 39-year-old Franklin Enos of Hilo. He was located at Laupāhoehoe Point on Tuesday (November 12) and arrested at 3:55 p.m. Police also recovered the Honda.

Enos was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 2:10 p.m. Thursday, Enos was charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. His bail on that offense was set at $10,000. He was also charged with two counts of discharge of sureties in connection with previous offenses.

He was taken to Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center and was scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Friday (November 15).