Lee enters pleas
By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 35-year-old Hilo man accused of running over his girlfriend with a car Monday night, seriously injuring her, made his initial court appearance Thursday.
Justin Keola Lee pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree assault plus second-degree reckless endangering. Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas maintained Lee’s bail at $22,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for 2 p.m. Monday.
Court documents filed by police state Lee’s 41-year-old girlfriend, Mary Raquedan, reported she and Lee were arguing at about 9:30 p.m. Monday. She said Lee, her boyfriend of eight months, got into the car and was backing out of the driveway at their Haili Street home, and she ran to the gate to close it in an attempt to prevent him from leaving.
Raquedan was reportedly struck by the vehicle in her buttocks and lower back, fell and was pushed beneath the car, suffering a burn to her back and abrasions to her knees and arms.
Lee reportedly fled the scene on foot and police released a bulletin seeking the public’s help in finding him.
Raquedan was taken in a private vehicle to Hilo Medical Center, where a doctor diagnosed a spinal fracture in the neck. The doctor determined the injury was serious and could possibly paralyze Raquedan, so she was medevaced to an Oahu hospital for further treatment.
At last report, Raquedan’s condition remained unchanged.
Police said Lee turned himself in at the Hilo police station at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday.
In addition to the assault and reckless endangering charges, Lee was charged with bail jumping, contempt of court and violating terms of release.
Second-degree assault is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Second-degree reckless endangering is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Lee was convicted of second-degree escape in 2001, and also has convictions on firearms and drug charges.
He remains in custody in Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
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