Trial begins for man charged with running over police officer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Trial begins for man charged with running over police officer

James Dorsey James Dorsey
Honolulu Police Department Officer Eric Fontes Honolulu Police Department Officer Eric Fontes
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

James Dorsey sat with his head bowed as the prosecutor told the jury the Waianae man admitted to cops he dozed off while headed home on Farrington Highway.

"You'll also hear him say in that statement that he was tired, so tired that he was bobbing his head," Kristine Yoo said. "You'll also hear him tell you in his statement, the recorded statement, that I wish that I just pulled over."

Honolulu police said that on the night of September 13, 2011, Dorsey was driving west near Ko Olina when his Toyota Tacoma turned into a police traffic stop and slammed into officer Eric Fontes. The 45-year-old died of his injuries.

"There's no question that what happened changed the lives of everyone involved. No question that people have suffered. But the question you must ask yourselves is whether James should be held criminally liable," deputy public defender Carmel Kwock said.

Dorsey, 22, is charged with negligent homicide.

Former Honolulu police officer Thomas Chun-Ming told the court he saw Dorsey's truck barreling toward him and another officer. He said he dove out of the way and heard a crash.

"There's only one person inside the vehicle and it's the driver," Chun-Ming said. "I instruct him to get out of the vehicle at which time he related something to the effect that, 'Oh, what happened? I fell asleep.'"

Dorsey's also charged with negligent injury. Yoo said officer Herman Scanlan was struck when Dorsey's vehicle veered between the line of cop cars and the concrete median.

"I was kind of happy that they had all these lights around me. To me I felt safer because we had all these lights, but apparently not that night, Scanlan said.

"When James was driving home that evening he was tired. But he believed that he could make it home," Kwock said.

Fontes was a seven-year veteran of HPD.

"Officers Cunningham and Chun-Ming were lucky because they had a chance to get out of the way. Officer Fontes never had that chance," Yoo said.


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