Drunken driver who killed his own father sentenced to jail time

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Nanakuli man who killed his father in a drunken driving crash last year was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation Wednesday.

The defendant's family says he's been punished enough. The judge disagreed.

Logan Awong entered the courtroom, unsure if he would walk out a free man. His family says the 23-year-old has suffered enough, having killed his own father in a DUI crash in Nanakuli in January 2010.

"All I know is we all have to deal with it for the rest of our lives," Gilmore Awong, victim's father and defendant's grandfather, said.

Investigators say Awong's blood alcohol level was 0.14, when he lost control of his speeding truck and slammed into a mailbox, a rock wall, a fire hydrant, a tree, and two utility poles. Jason Awong, 39, was in the passenger's seat.

"They had been drinking and they decided to get more alcohol," Kristine Yoo, deputy prosecutor, said.

Prosecutors asked for a 10-year prison term.

But Timothy Learmont of Island Movers says the crash had a profound effect on Logan Awong, who has been with the company for five years. Learmont joined the family in pleading for no jail time, calling the defendant a "terrific employee" who should be allowed to continue providing for his family.

"It seems like it would be a shame to put him in jail so he's not a productive member of society. He's basically a ward of the state," Learmont, defendant's boss, said. "Yes, he has done a bad thing. But every day, he goes home and he sees his grandparents. He's facing the parents of the person that passed away."

Awong apologized for his deadly actions.

"It was an extreme wake-up call," the man convicted of first-degree negligent homicide said. "I lost my dad."

But Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario handed down a one-year jail term, saying anything less would depreciate the seriousness of the offense.

Awong, who had been free on supervised release, hugged his family and was immediately taken into custody.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.