By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 34-year-old Hilo man who injured an elderly woman a violent traffic collision in Panaewa two years ago while trying to evade police in a stolen car has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
On Thursday, Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara sentenced Alexander Borero III for attempted first-degree assault and another five years for auto theft and second-degree negligent injury. He also ordered that Borero’s sentence run consecutively to the prison term he’s already serving for bail jumping and auto theft. According to the state Department of Public Safety website, Borero had been scheduled for release in November 2015 on those charges.
Borero was originally indicted for attempted first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole upon conviction, but the charge was dropped as part of a plea deal.
Police were seeking Borero for bail jumping and contempt of court when officers stopped him on Aug. 15, 2010, in a stolen Honda sedan on Paradise Drive in Hawaiian Paradise Park. Police say that Borero reversed the Honda hard at an officer and dragged him a few feet after the officer’s magazine pouch got caught on the car. The officer was not seriously injured. The dropped attempted murder charge was for the dragging incident.
Police say officers then pursued him from HPP to Mountain View, but called off the chase in the interest of public safety.
According to police, Borero was seen heading east on Mamaki Street in Panaewa at a high rate of speed. At the corner of Highway 11, he struck a Volcano-bound Toyota so forcefully the Honda was torn in half. Borero was pinned under part of the wreckage and ended up in the hospital.
Also hospitalized was the Toyota’s front seat passenger, Hiroko Kawaoka of Hilo, who was 86 at the time. She was admitted in serious condition, but recovered. Her son, Lloyd, then 61, who was driving the Toyota, was treated and released.
Steve Strauss, Borero’s court-appointed attorney, argued for a 10-year sentence, the lightest he could receive under a plea deal with prosecutors. He said that Borero learned how to read while incarcerated.
“Without his ability to read, his understanding of right and wrong was deficient,” he said. “… It’s not that way anymore. Whether you sentence him to 10 years, to 15 years or 20 years, you will not see him again, because he’s now understands right and wrong and that’s the guiding principle that he wants to live his life by.”
Deputy Prosecutor Mike Kagami argued for a 20-year sentence.
“Mr. Borero had numerous opportunities to stop his criminal conduct on this day,” he said. “… When he was seen driving the stolen vehicle he could have stopped then. He did not. He then proceeded to injure a police officer who was trying to stop him. He fled from that. … Subsequently, he fled to Mountain View, and to Panaewa where he got into the accident involving the negligent injury.”
Borero told the court that he was “remorseful.”
“I’ve made some mistakes in the past that I’m not proud of,” he said. “… If I knew then what I know now, everything would be different, I know that.”
Before he sentenced Borero, Hara said that the auto theft was Borero’s fourth and noted that he had already received numerous breaks for prior felonies.
“There are indications you were addicted to methamphetamine or were using it pretty heavily,” the judge said.
“Yes, sir,” Borero replied.
“Unless we address that, there are indications that you will be here again and you will not receive the breaks that you are today,” Hara said.
Borero had twice pleaded guilty to the charges he was sentenced for, was allowed to withdraw his first guilty plea, and had filed a motion to withdraw the second plea. Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura denied Borero’s second request to withdraw his plea.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.