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Problem Kia driver sentenced

KAILUA-KONA — The 26-year-old driver of a white Kia Soul who gained notoriety on social media earlier this year for its driver’s “erratic and dangerous” actions will spend up to five years behind bars.

William “Willy Boy” Duarte IV was sentenced Oct. 30 by Kona Circuit Judge Melvin H. Fujino for four of the 10 charges he originally faced for his actions behind the wheel in April and May, though the vehicle with heavy body damage began popping up on social media in January.

The judge ordered him to serve up to five years in prison for first-degree resisting an order to stop, a Class C felony; one year for second-degree reckless endangering; one year for driving without a license; and 30 days for leaving the scene of an accident involving property or vehicle damage. The latter charges are misdemeanors.

The sentences are to run concurrent. The Hawaii Paroling Authority will set the minimum term Duarte must serve before being eligible for parole. Duarte will receive credit for time served.

He also was ordered to pay $245 in fees and $700 in restitution.

Duarte pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to four of the 10 charges filed against him in May in connection with incidents that unfolded April 21 and May 4 and 6. He was taken into police custody May 6. It was part of a plea deal with prosecutors in which the state dropped the other six charges.

Duarte was also resentenced in connection in a 2017 case stemming from an incident in December 2016. At the time of the offenses earlier this year, he was wanted on a bench warrant for violating probation. Fujino on Oct. 30 ordered Duarte to serve up to five years in jail for first-degree resisting an order to stop in that case. The sentence runs concurrent with the case from earlier this year.

The judge also ordered Duarte pay $105 in fees and pay $500 in restitution owed in the case.

Duarte was taken into police custody May 6 when a police officer saw him at the Lako Street Shell gas station in Kona.

The white Kia Soul with heavy body damage Duarte was reportedly driving gained notoriety starting in January as residents posted about the vehicle on social media. Dozens of posts on Big Island Popo Alert and Big Island Thieves garnered hundreds of comments about the vehicle, its driver and their location.

The charges stem from incidents that unfolded after officers attempted unsuccessfully to stop the Kia Soul and its driver for traffic violations on April 21 near Lako Street and twice on May 4 in Kailua Village. No officers were injured in the incidents, however, police say Duarte unintentionally struck a subsidized police vehicle as he fled.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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