WAILUKU - With a man testifying he didn't think he would be injured as his girlfriend's pickup truck moved toward him, a judge ruled Tuesday that there wasn't enough evidence to support an attempted murder charge against a Wailuku woman.
"The truck didn't hit me," Melvin Cummings Jr. said during a preliminary hearing for Irene Evans, 36. "I hit the hood and the windshield."
Wailuku District Judge Blaine Kobayashi concluded that the state didn't present enough evidence to support the second-degree attempted murder charge against Evans. Kobayashi did find probable cause for a charge of second-degree criminal property damage.
The judge reduced Evans' bail, which had been set at $51,000 for both charges, to $5,000 for the single charge.
"This is really a domestic abuse that got a little out of control," said defense attorney Matthew Nardi, who asked that Evans' bail be reduced.
While not objecting to the bail reduction, Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa said he didn't agree "with the characterization that trivializes the facts of this case."
Police were called to the Kahekili Terrace parking lot on North Market Street shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday to investigate a reported abuse in progress.
Cummings, who has a 3-year-old daughter with Evans, said the couple had been arguing before she left the complex, driving away in her older model Nissan pickup truck. He said he was throwing her clothes into a Dumpster when she returned in her pickup truck and asked what he was doing.
He told her he was throwing away her clothes because she wouldn't return his television and fishing pole, which were in the back of her truck.
"It's like an eye for an eye," Cummings testified.
Evans said she would return his belongings but asked if he would stay. He said he told her no before her truck moved toward him from 6 to 8 feet away.
"I don't know what led up to it," he said. "But maybe her foot slipped off. It started coming toward me. It wasn't at a rapid speed.
"Clearly, she wasn't coming to injure me."
Cummings said he jumped up and hit the truck hood and the windshield, which he said he shattered with his fist. "All she said was, 'Ooh, my windshield' and 'Now watch your car,' '' Cummings said. "She proceeded to reverse and drove toward my car and she smashed it."
Asked by Nardi if he intended to punch the windshield when he jumped on the truck, Cummings replied, "Pretty much, yes."
Cummings said he wasn't worried about being injured. "I knew I couldn't clear the whole truck, but I knew I could clear the hood," he said.
He said he had rolled off the truck, landing in front of it, when Evans reversed and hit his Toyota Corolla.
"After you rolled off the car, did you make any attempt to move out of the way?" Nardi asked.
"No," Cummings said.
"So you were not concerned at that point that she was going to try to run you over?" Nardi asked.
"No," Cummings replied.
He said his only injuries were lacerations to his knuckles from hitting the windshield. Cummings said he received an estimate of $3,200 for new parts to repair his 1996 Toyota, which has about 86,000 miles on it.
Maui police Detective Wendell Loo said Cummings reported that Evans' vehicle "came at him at a high rate of speed."
Cummings said "he had to jump out of the way, landed on the hood of her car, smashed onto the windshield, then fell off the car," Loo said.
He said the windshield was shattered, with a depression the size of a basketball at the impact point on the driver's side near the middle.
Loo also questioned Evans about what happened.
"Basically, she was pissed off at him, and she stepped on the gas and the truck just took off," Loo said. "The next thing she knows, she saw Melvin up on the hood and into the windshield.
"She said she thought Melvin deliberately broke her windshield, so she was pissed off."
Loo said Evans said something like "you break my car, I going break your car" before hitting Cummings' car with her truck.
Nardi asked the detective whether Evans was "very adamant" in saying she didn't intend to hit Cummings with the truck. "Yes, she claimed it was an accident," Loo said.
"She told you she was expecting him to move out of the way?" Nardi asked.
"Yes," Loo replied.
He said Cummings had blood on his arms, hands, elbows and ear and complained of pain to his head and body but refused medical treatment.
In arguing against the attempted murder charge, Nardi said "the most telltale sign" was what happened after Cummings had rolled off the truck. "She made no attempt to run him over," Nardi said.
Evans is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 8 in 2nd Circuit Court.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.