Driver charged in deadly hit & run involving bicyclist gives up court fight

Photo Courtesy: Colin Wiki Photography
Photo Courtesy: Colin Wiki Photography

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fourteen months after Hawaii Pacific University baseball player Zachary Manago was killed during a bicycle ride, the Army man charged in the case has given up his court fight.

Douglas Curtis' no contest plea to fleeing the scene of the crash came as a relief to the 18-year-old victim's mother, who says she had prayed for it.

"Just make it easier for our family, and we don't have to go through that trial and that whole long process," Daphne Manago, crash victim's mother, said. "That's exactly what I was hoping for."

The victim's cycling buddies located the suspect for police. Defense attorney Jonathan Burge says his client thought he had struck an animal, and feels bad about what happened and for the victim's family.

Daphne Manago wants to attend the 26-year-old's sentencing in May to see for herself if he's sincerely sorry.

"I would love to hear what he has to say about how this is going to change his life," she said. "I'm hoping that something positive can come out of it."

Since the tragedy, the devastated mother has become an advocate for bicycle safety, most recently supporting a petition for a bike lane on busy Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki.

She says it's what her son would have wanted. The last college paper he ever wrote was titled, 'Should Hawaii Have More Bike Lanes?'

"In that essay, Zach talked about how, although he loved biking, he was always afraid," Daphne Manago said.

Curtis, who faces up to 10 years in prison, plans to ask the judge for a deferral. If his request is granted and he stays out of trouble for a certain period of time, the felony won't appear on his record.

"I don't think it's right because he is responsible for what he did," Daphne Manago said. "To me, it should be on his record."

We happened to catch Daphne at home while she was going through her son's belongings. She says time doesn't heal all wounds.

"Some days I'm fine," she said through tears. "But other days, it's just really, really hard."

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