Police shut down a portion of the Old Stainback Highway Thursday morning (Aug. 29) due to a search for a suspect in a car theft case.
Officers were attempting to stop a suspicious pickup truck just after midnight on Highway 11 in the Panaewa area when the vehicle fled the area.
It was located on an unimproved side road off the Old Stainback Highway in the Panaewa Rainforest.
As the driver attempted to flee from police again, the truck became lodged in the brush. The suspect then exited the truck and fled on foot.
While officers were securing the vehicle — a black Toyota Tacoma that had been reported stolen from Hilo in July — gunshots were heard from the vicinity of the forest where it was believed the suspect had fled.
Patrol officers secured the area and conducted a further search of the forest area during daylight hours with assistance from the Police Department’s Special Response Team and Criminal Investigations Section.
Once the area was deemed safe, the Old Stainback Highway was reopened at 1 p.m.
The suspect is still at large and the investigation is continuing.
Police ask anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or his location to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.