Report on crash into restaurant forwarded to AG

DAMAGE: Staff clean up the damage inside Jerry Kitchen in Tamuning on March 8 after a Jeep crashed and wrecked the restaurant. The Guam Office of the Attorney General is reviewing a police report on the crash. Nick Delgado/ The Guam Daily Post

The Guam Police Department has forwarded the findings of its reinvestigation into a vehicle crash that wrecked Jerry Kitchen to the Office of the Attorney General. 

AG spokeswoman Carlina Charfauros said the AG's office received the police report this week. The AG will conduct its review and, if needed, perform further investigation, she said.

A 2020 red Jeep Wrangler crashed into Jerry Kitchen in Tamuning the night of Feb. 24.

According to a previously released crash report, Nakita T. Aguon, 30, of Agana Heights, was attempting to make a left turn from Marine Corps Drive when she lost control, hit a curb in front of the Camacho Landmark Center, before she crashed into the restaurant.

No injuries were reported and Aguon was given a citation.

The police report also states that three other women were seated in the back seat to include GPD officer Joneen Veronica Hernandez Terlaje, 26, who was off-duty at the time.

The vehicle shattered the front of the restaurant, which sits on a raised curb within a parking lot and is some distance from the roadway. Photos that circulated on social media showed the Jeep landed inside the restaurant with two flat tires. 

The incident was classified as an auto that ran off the roadway.

Police Chief Stephen Ignacio then confirmed one of his police officers, off duty at the time, was a passenger in the Jeep.

The case was closed by the responding patrol officers but the police chief later ordered Guam Highway Patrol officers to investigate again, citing community concerns with the case. 

Officer Christopher Champion and other members of GPD responded to the scene, according to court documents. GPD cited Aguon but didn't administer a sobriety test, the magistrate's report stated. 

The driver was issued a citation, although Aguon was not administered a sobriety test. One of the issues that was to be looked into as part of the reinvestigation was the decision not to conduct a sobriety test.

The incident was one of the issues discussed during an oversight hearing in March. 

At that time, Ignacio said he reviewed and read the initial report and didn't find anything unusual, nor had he received anything directly that indicated something was wrong. 

However, he added that there is a "supposition" that the presence of an off-duty officer leaves members of the community to question whether the case was handled properly.

"There’s a lot of community concern. There is nothing directly relayed to me that I am aware of at this point. The concern far outweighs where we are at with this. I think it’s important that we continue to maintain the trust with the community that we are aboveboard," Ignacio said during the hearing.

GPD police spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao said the attorney general will decide whether there will be anything to pursue criminally.

"We've always wanted to remain transparent with everything. Especially when you have the community concern regarding this certain case," he said.

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