Father sentenced to decade in prison for crash that killed own child

A Lihue man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a 2011 traffic crash that caused the death of his 14-month-old infant.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Michael  Pagelsdorf Jr., 30, pleaded guilty to Negligent Homicide in the First Degree, a class B felony, and was ordered to immediately begin serving his sentence.

On February 20, 2011, Pagelsdorf was driving eastbound on Kaumualii Highway in Lihue with his infant in his lap. He looked down for a second and when he looked up, he was unable to stop his vehicle from crashing into the vehicle that was stopped in front of him. The airbag in Pagelsdorf's vehicle deployed, causing fatal injuries to the infant.

Pagelsdorf had methamphetamine and marijuana in his blood at the time of the crash and was driving on a suspended license.

"This was a terrible tragedy, and one that was completely avoidable," said Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar. "Mr. Pagelsdorf made the conscious decision to remove the infant from the child safety seat, and he will have to live with the consequences of that decision for the rest of his life. My hope is that others learn from this mistake and avoid repeating it."

During an exclusive interview in 2011 Pagelsdorf Jr. told Hawaii News Now, "I take full responsibility for everything," he said. "Whatever comes my way is going to come."

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