A man accused of stealing a pickup truck from an auto shop in Gualo Rai last December that resulted in a collision with another vehicle along Chalan Kiya Drive, entered a guilty plea last week and was slapped with a one-year imprisonment.
Ryan R. Pua, 32, pleaded guilty to a traffic offense of theft of vehicle.
As part of the plea agreement, assistant attorney general Jonathan L. Wilberscheid, counsel for the government, moved to dismiss the remaining traffic charges of reckless driving (no injuries) and driving while under the influence of alcohol.
The Office of the Attorney General originally filed a criminal case against Pua, but later amended it to a traffic case.
Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho accepted the defendant’s guilty plea and sentenced him to the maximum of five years imprisonment, all suspended except one year, to be served day for day without the possibility of parole or early release.
After completing the prison term, Pua will be placed on probation for two years.
Pua was given credit of 110 days of time served. He was required to pay a $1,000 fine, $25 in court costs, and $200 in probation fee.
The defendant was ordered to perform 100 hours of community work service. He may perform the community work service at the Department of Corrections if DOC rules and policies allow.
The government was given 90 days to submit a request for a restitution hearing.
According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, Pua operated or stole a vehicle belonging to Eduardo Mariano Yalung on Dec. 27, 2016 on Saipan.
Last January, assistant public defender Nancy A. Dominski, counsel for Pua, moved the court to issue an order appointing an expert in the field of psychiatry to evaluate defendant’s current mental state.
The following month, Dominski requested the court to withdraw the motion for a competency determination. Camacho granted the motion to withdraw.
Police said that on Dec. 27, 2016 in the afternoon, Yalung approached two police officers at XO Market in Gualo Rai and asked them to chase his Toyota Hilux, which had just been stolen from his shop five minutes ago.
The two officers gave chase to the truck that headed southbound on Chalan Pale Arnold Road. The officers lost sight of the truck.
The Department of Public Safety then sent out a bulletin to alert officers to be on the lookout for a Toyota Hilux with license plate ACS-176.
Yalung told police that he had just arrived at his Tech Auto repair shop after purchasing some parts and parked his vehicle by the entrance of the shop, turned off the ignition but left the key inside.
A few minutes later, Yalung heard the engine of his truck start and saw it leaving the area being driven by a man, later identified as Pua.
Later that same afternoon, police officers responded to Chalan Kiya Drive, where a vehicular crash occurred. Upon arrival at the scene, police learned that it was Pua who was the driver of the stolen truck and caused the crash that damaged the truck and another vehicle.
The driver of the other vehicle told police that the Hilux was speeding when Pua lost control and struck his vehicle. Pua was found under the influence of alcohol.