Big Island police shut down a portion of the Old Stainback Highway Thursday morning 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.
Police say 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.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.