Hawaii Island police arrested a motorist after they say he disregarded and sped through a traffic control checkpoint on Government Beach Road just north of intersection with Hwy. 132 as an active lava flow approached.
Police say Allan Bartels, a 62-year-old man with a residence in Kapoho, drove up to the checkpoint on Government Beach Road (Highway 137) just north of the Highway 132 "Four Corners" intersection on Saturday at approximately 8:30 a.m.
Officers informed him the road was closed and he could not enter, but they say he disregarded them and drove through the checkpoint "at a high rate of speed."
Officers used flashing lights and siren to chase Bartels' 2000 Dodge van, but they say he continued south, towards two county workers on the road flagging the van down. Witnesses say the driver shook his head and kept driving, so the workers jumped off the road to avoid being hit.
Police followed the van to a residence just above Government Beach Road and arrested Bartels. They drove him out of the area through the "Four Corner" intersection as the lava flow was within 50 to 100 feet from crossing onto the roadway and cutting off an exit route.
The suspect was later charged with Refusing to Evacuate, Obstructing Government Operations, Resisting Order to Stop Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, and two counts of Reckless Endangering in the 2nd degree. He was unable to post his $3,750 bail and is at the detention center in Hilo.
If you have more information regarding this incident call Officer Duane Rapoza of the Puna District at (808) 965-2716 or the police non-emergency telephone number (808) 935-3311.