HOLIDAY ENFORCEMENT “PRETTY QUIET”
The police enforcement during the holiday ended peacefully yesterday morning at 6 a.m., says Ta’aloloiufaiva Captain John Cendrowski who heads the Traffic Division with the Department of Public Safety.
Cendrowski told Samoa News there were no fatalities or any major accidents on the main highway, rather just public peace disturbances, underage drinkers and minor traffic accidents, where fortunately, no one was injured.
He said the numbers for drunk drivers for 2012 have gone down compared to 2011, noting that in the 2011 holiday enforcement there were close to 50 arrests for drunk driving, however this year about 40 were arrested and charged for DUI.
Many people arrested for DUI were caught driving on the road, while some were caught at the checkpoint road block in Nu’uuli in front of CBT. He said this year’s campaign on drunk driving was successful, however the number of drunk drivers is still high.
“I’m seeing that a lot of people are taking our advice and taking cabs home while some had designated drivers. “Please don’t drink and drive, not just for the holidays or during the police enforcement but every day,” he said.
Four were arrested on New Year’s Day for DUI: Shane Vivao, Aneterosa Taramara, Maninoa Hudson and A’asa Maeva, while seven were arrested for public peace disturbance: Tunu Luki, Afa Amituana’i, Alofamoni Pesamino, Lolimi Pelenato, Ernie Tao, Fale Mose, Paina Sani.
Four arrests were made for underage drinking — Melvin Siota, Sean Ah Hing, Fa’amoe Sioka, and one juvenile, who made their initial appearance in District Court yesterday.
Ernie Tao, who was among those arrested for PPD, is accused of assaulting his girlfriend. Assistant Attorney General Lornalei Meredith said the government is looking at filing additional charges against Tao, because a dangerous instrument was used, namely a rock.
Tao 23, of Faleniu is held on bail of $2,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley. According to the government’s case, police received a call from a security guard at the Bowling Alley nightclub regarding an assault in the parking lot Tuesday evening.
It’s alleged when police arrived at the scene, Tao’s mouth was bleeding and he told police he had been assaulted, while the girlfriend was crying.
Court filings say that witnesses at the scene told police they heard a female screaming and yelling for help, and then two men assaulted Tao. The men then took off in their vehicle.
The girlfriend told police that her boyfriend had assaulted her because he was jealous. Court filings say the defendant took his girlfriend out of the Bowling Alley, where he pushed her near his vehicle and beat her.
It’s alleged the defendant punched and kicked the victim (girlfriend) on the back and on the head and then he struck her on the head with a rock.
The government claims the defendant was also assaulted by two men who saw him beating his girlfriend. The victim suffered a cut on her head, a lump on her forehead and bruises and scratches on her back.
The defendant lost a tooth and had injuries to his face. Both victim and defendant were taken to LBJ hospital for treatment and were afterward released. The defendant was then transported back to Tafuna Correctional Facility.
PPD ATTACKER NOW FACES FELONY ASSAULT CHARGE
Polagi Vaimoe, one of three men arrested on Christmas day on allegations of a public peace disturbance, is now facing second degree assault. Vaimoe was arraigned in High Court yesterday, where he entered a plea of not guilty to the two charges against him.
The assault count is a class D felony punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, while the PPD count, a misdemeanor, carries a jail term of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
According to the government’s case, the victim reported that they had been playing pool when three male individuals (who they had never seen before) approached and wanted to play pool. It’s alleged all three men were under the influence of alcohol.
Vaimoe was among the three men. It’s alleged the three men grabbed cue sticks and started shooting the balls off the pool table to the ground. The victim noted that the cover of the pool table was ripped, and they told the three men to leave.
It’s alleged the three drunk men walked away from the pool area and stood on the road throwing rocks towards the pool table house, and the apartments. The victim said when he exited the house he was struck on the head with a rock thrown by Vaimoe.
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