A lawsuit has been filed against the city on behalf of the driver of a car that was allegedly run off the road by Honolulu police officers who fled the scene after the crash.

Attorneys Michael Green and Maria Penn filed the complaint Tuesday on behalf of Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati and his children after Perkins-Sinapati was critically injured in the Sept. 12 car crash in Waianae.

It is the third lawsuit filed in the wake of the crash and alleges that HPD officers Joshua Nahulu, Erik Smith and Jake Bartolome never turned on their lights or sirens while pursuing the vehicle being driven by Perkins-Sinapati on Farrington Highway.

Makaha car crash
The Department of the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney has opened an independent investigation into a crash allegedly caused by HPD officers Courtesy: Michael Stern/2021

The lawsuit alleges that the officers bumped the rear of Perkins-Sinapati’s vehicle and caused the crash, seriously injuring Perkins-Sinapati and the five passengers in the vehicle.

The officers then left the scene, failed to provide medical aid to the injured occupants and conspired to prepare false reports about the incident characterizing it as a “single car crash,” according to the complaint.

“As a direct and proximate result thereof, Jonaven suffered catastrophic, painful, permanent, and disabling injuries in an amount to be proven at trial,” the complaint claims.

It was initially reported that Perkins-Sinapati was on life-support following the crash, but Penn did not disclose her client’s current condition.

The lawsuit came less than a week after attorney Michael Stern filed a similar lawsuit against the city on behalf of four of the vehicle’s passengers, who suffered injuries that included fractured spines, fractured ribs and eye lacerations.

Nahulu, Bartolome and Smith were also named in a lawsuit filed in September by attorney Eric Seitz on behalf of Dayten Gouveia, a passenger who was paralyzed in the crash.

All three officers involved in the crash remained on desk duty with their police authority restricted, HPD Interim Chief Rade Vanic said during a March Honolulu Police Commission meeting.

Vanic also said that the investigation into the incident has been handed over to the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office, which will conduct an independent investigation into the officers involved.

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