Prosecutors want bus driver to serve half of 20-year sentence for death

Steve Oshiro
Steve Oshiro
(Left) Michael Green (Right) Steve Oshiro
(Left) Michael Green (Right) Steve Oshiro

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A former tour bus driver, convicted of causing a deadly crash in Kahaluu three years ago, sought mercy from the Hawaii parole board Monday. Steve Oshiro maintains he wasn't on drugs at the time of the collision.

Oshiro has been locked up at the Halawa Correctional Facility for the past 18 months after pleading no contest to manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years. On Monday, prosecutors urged the parole board to make him serve half that.

Emerging from his cell at Halawa Prison, a former bus driver tries to steer his way towards a shorter prison term.

"He's working 100 hours a week. You have another employee who says we're all fatigued on the road," Michael Green, defense attorney, said. "This could happen to anyone, and (prosecutors) want 10 years."

Corey Voss, 41, was killed June 12th, 2006, when the Roberts Hawaii bus Steve Oshiro was driving crossed the center line of Kamehameha Highway and demolished his SUV.

"When I was on my way back, all I wanted to do was get the vehicle back and get off the road," Oshiro said.

He says he was exhausted from working long hours and wanted to go home after a minor fender bender that morning.

"I asked the supervisor if I could take the rest of the day off. I wasn't feeling well," the convicted driver said. "And he said no, we need you for a couple more runs. He gave me three more runs."

But prosecutors believe the driver was on crystal methamphetamine, based on video of the swerving bus taken by a passenger earlier that day.

"The trip up there on the way across the Pali was remarkable to almost everybody who had to suffer through it," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu prosecutor, said. "He was nodding back and forth, sweating profusely, twitching."

Prosecutors say Roberts Hawaii fired Oshiro after he refused to take a drug test. But his attorney says Oshiro did provide a urine sample at the hospital, and that police could have ordered a blood draw but did not.

"They forgot. The police forgot," Green said.

Under a plea deal, Oshiro can withdraw his no-contest plea and ask for a trial if the parole board orders him to serve more than 10 years before he's eligible for parole.

"We would ask you sincerely not to give him any more than a 10-year sentence because it would impose yet another burden on this poor woman who lost her husband," Carlisle said.

The panel is expected to issue its decision in two to three weeks.