DUI driver will not fight negligent homicide charge in pedestrian death

Elwyn Keomaka II
Elwyn Keomaka II
Darrell Wong
Darrell Wong
Ray Kanemori
Ray Kanemori

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A driver charged with killing a pedestrian while driving under the influence in Waikiki last January will not take his case to trial.

Without the benefit of a plea deal, Elwyn Keomaka II, 28, pleaded no contest to the full charge of first-degree negligent homicide Thursday. The crime carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

Witnesses say Keomaka was driving his car the wrong way on a one-way street when he slammed into Ray Kanemori, 61. The victim was a guest services manager for Outrigger Hotels and was walking to his car after getting off work.

Prosecutors say the defendant's blood alcohol level was 0.13 two hours after the incident, and may have been as high as 0.15 at the time of the crash. The legal limit is 0.08.

Speed calculations indicate the car was traveling 29 miles per hour in the 25 mile-per-hour zone. The pedestrian was not using a crosswalk and entered the street from between two parked vehicles.

"Certainly, there needs to be a serious enough punishment that should reflect the seriousness of his actions," Darrell Wong, deputy prosecutor, said. "I personally don't believe in this case a 10-year prison would be warranted."

Defense attorney Howard Luke says his client has not driven since the deadly crash, is extremely remorseful, and wanted to take responsibility as soon as possible.

"He is very affected by it," Luke said. "It's a private thing that occurs between a lawyer and his client, but I will tell you, in my office, he's wept many times. He feels awful about this."

The defendant wanted to contact the Kanemori family, but his lawyer advised him to wait.

"I just wanted to express my apologies," Keomaka said. "I'm very, very, deeply sorry. If I could change anything, I would."

Keomaka has no prior criminal record. He is scheduled to be sentenced October 19th.

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