HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Trial has been set for an Army soldier charged with fleeing the scene of a crash that killed a Hawaii Pacific University baseball player in 2010.
Douglas Curtis, 26, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at Honolulu Circuit Court Thursday. He remains free on his own recognizance pending a bail hearing.
Zachary Manago, 18, a graduate of Moanalua High School and pitcher for the HPU baseball team, was riding with a group of bicyclists on Kamehameha Highway near Leilehua Golf Course Road when he was struck from behind. The vehicle kept going.
After two days without an arrest, the victim's cycling friends launched a search for the hit-and-run driver, and discovered a damaged Saturn SUV at a townhouse complex nearby. Police later arrested Curtis for investigation of negligent homicide and failure to render aid.
The criminal complaint, however, charges the defendant with only the single count of failure to render aid.
"What it tells me is that HPD went out, they investigated, they had their experts look at everything, and they couldn't determine speeding or a traffic violation or anything of that nature," Jonathan Burge, defense attorney, said. "That's the reason there's no negligent homicide because they couldn't determine negligence."
Burge says his client, who has been an Army soldier for eight years, thought that he had struck an animal, and "feels terribly" about what happened.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins ruled that Curtis can continue to handle firearms while at work. Defendants usually have to turn over any firearms or ammunition while their criminal cases are pending.
Trial is tentatively set for March.