KAILUA-KONA — A New York state couple were cited after bypassing a security checkpoint in attempts to view an active lava flow Monday evening, state officials confirmed Tuesday.
According to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the couple bypassed the checkpoint on Highway 132, parked outside Lava Tree State Monument, which is closed, and walked into the area. They were identified as Irene Rigogiannis and Anthony Panuccio, both 27, of Little Neck, New York.
“The man and woman told DOCARE officers that a local resident told them how to get around the checkpoint,” the release states. “The pair was cited for loitering and refusal to evacuate during a pending disaster.”
Officers from DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) and other law enforcement agencies have adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone who violates closures in the disaster area associated with the current eruption of Kilauea and associated lava flows.
Officers also report that a boat tied up at the closed Pohoiki Boat Ramp was unable to return to the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor in Hilo. The owner of the boat, 33-year-old Vitaly Novikov of Pahoa, received three citations for various boat safety equipment violations.
All of the citations issued last night are petty misdemeanors, but can carry higher penalties because they happened during a disaster situation, the release states.