Crime Statistics

Maui Man Arrested After String of Reckless Driving Incidents Including Hit-and-Run

September 27, 2021, 2:12 PM HST
* Updated September 29, 5:26 AM
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Marcus Ruggerio. PC: Maui Police Department

Maui police arrested a Wailuku man on Saturday after a string of reckless driving reports across the island on Saturday morning that included allegations of driving into oncoming traffic in Lahaina, a hit-and-run accident in Wailuku that injured a Waikapū man, and colliding with a parked car in Mākena.

The rash of incidents ended about four hours after the initial report, with police apprehending 56-year-old Marcus Ruggerio in Mākena at La Perouse Bay for a list of felony and misdemeanor offenses.

According to police records, Ruggiero has a history of 77 arrests, with 58 convictions–15 for felonies, 24 for misdemeanors, and 19 for petty misdemeanors.  At the time of his arrest, police say the man was out on bail for: attempted murder, three counts of resisting an order to stop, two counts of reckless driving, and two counts of driving with a suspended license.

The rash of incidents started at around 5:10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, when Lahaina patrol officers received a report of a reckless motorist driving on the Lahaina bypass. The vehicle, described as a blue Nissan Altima, was reported driving into the oncoming lanes of traffic.

Lahaina patrol officers found the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop, but say the driver failed to stop and continued toward Wailuku. They positivity identified the driver as Marcus Ruggiero and terminated the pursuit for the safety of those on the road.

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“Ruggiero has a long history of running from the police in his vehicle, and in doing so places everyone on the roadway in danger due to his reckless disregard for the safety of everyone,” according to a press release issued by police.

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Subsequently, information regarding the vehicle and operator was transmitted to all units in Wailuku, Kīhei, and Lahaina via police dispatch. 

At approximately 5:57 a.m., police say Ruggiero was observed driving into Wailuku town, where an off-duty police officer on his way into work observed the blue Nissan Altima collide into a pedestrian who was jogging along the side of the road on Honoapiʻilani Highway.

“The off-duty officer immediately called for assistance and rendered aid to the pedestrian while Ruggiero drove away making no attempts to stop and help,” according to department reports. The pedestrian, a 27-year-old Waikapū man, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for additional treatment. 

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At approximately 6:20 a.m., police say the suspect was again reported driving recklessly on Haleakalā Highway. Wailuku Patrol officers located the vehicle traveling on Hāna Highway headed into Pāʻia. Wailuku patrol officers attempted to stop Ruggiero, who was again positively identified by patrol officers.

“Ruggiero continued towards Pāʻia town, fully aware police were trying to stop him; however, he failed to stop as required by law,” police said. “Again, due to dangerous roadway conditions created by Ruggiero, officers terminated all attempts to stop the vehicle,” and information regarding the vehicle and operator was once again transmitted to all units.

At approximately 8:25 a.m., the blue Nissan Altima was reported to be in the Mākena area, after colliding with a parked car near Mākena State Park. Kīhei patrol officers were able to locate the vehicle within the parking lot area of La Perouse Bay. Officers surrounded the vehicle and placed Ruggiero (who was still within the vehicle) under arrest. Ruggiero was arrested without incident and transported to the Kīhei Police station.

Upon arrival at the Kīhei Police Station, officers summoned the assistance of Traffic DUI task force officers. Traffic investigators, who are also certified as Drug Recognition Experts, spoke with Ruggiero and were able to detect signs of drug impairment. Furthermore, police say it was learned that Ruggiero was a habitual offender of driving under the influence of intoxicants (OVUII).

Ruggiero was charged on Saturday with the following offenses: 

  1. Reckless Driving (2 counts)
  2. Resisting Order to Stop 
  3. Driving While License Suspended (2 counts)
  4. Accidents Involving Substantial Bodily Injury
  5. Duty to Render Aid
  6. Negligent Injury First Degree
  7. Duty Upon Striking Unattended Vehicle
  8. Habitual Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant
  9. Duty Upon Striking Unattended Vehicle

Additionally, the bail/bond for the above previously mentioned charges in which Ruggiero was out on bail was also revoked, and he was arrested for that as well.

Total bail for was set at $264,000, and Ruggiero remained in custody at last report at the Wailuku Police Station.

Lieutenant William Hankins, MPD Traffic Commander, said, “The arrest of Ruggiero was a collaborative effort of all patrol districts, Lahaina, Wailuku, and Kīhei. The fact that no one has been killed yet by Ruggiero is nothing short of a miracle.”  

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