Driver involved in deadly crash fails to show up for car break-in trial

Bernard DeCoito Jr.
Bernard DeCoito Jr.
Michaele Badua
Michaele Badua
Gillian Badua
Gillian Badua

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The mother of a teenaged girl who was killed in a fiery car crash in Mililani four years ago says she is upset that one of the drivers involved is accused of committing a new crime and failed to appear in court Monday.

"It goes to prove he's not responsible," Michaele Badua, crash victim's mother, said through tears. "He gets chance after chance. My daughter never had a second chance."

Bernard DeCoito, Jr. is scheduled to go to trial this week on a felony charge of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. He's accused of breaking into a car in Waipio on February 8, 2011.

The defendant, however, failed to show up for his trial call Monday morning. Circuit Judge Karen Ahn issued a $40,000 bench warrant for his arrest.

Deputy public defender Henry Ting could not explain his client's absence, saying he spoke with DeCoito last Thursday.

"You're on probation, follow the rules," Badua said. "It doesn't give you the right to do what you want."

DeCoito was sentenced to five years probation and 18 months in jail on January 28, 2010, after he pleaded guilty to fleeing the scene and second-degree assault in connection with the February 2007 crash that killed Gillian Badua, 17. Gavin Watson, 17, was seriously injured.

Gillian Badua and Watson were passengers in a Volkswagon Jetta that spun out of control, jumped a curb and slammed into a tree. Their driver, Justin Amorin, was convicted of second-degree negligent homicide and second-degree assault, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors say DeCoito contributed to the deadly crash because he and Amorin were racing their vehicles, which were traveling at "phenomenal speeds" on Lanikuhana Avenue.

Michaele Badua was in the courtroom Monday for DeCoito's car break-in case, saying she owes it to her daughter to track the men responsible for her death.

"It stirred up a lot of memories," Michaele Badua said about the new case. "Losing a child, especially the way it happened, was very hard."

"I commend Michaele," Lisa DeMello, deputy prosecutor, said while choking back tears. "As a mom, she's been very courageous."

DeCoito has served out his 18-month jail term for the crash. Authorities were trying to determine why he wasn't in custody for the new charge after his bail bonds company surrendered his bond last month.

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