HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Just weeks into his sentence, James Pflueger has been released from the Kauai Community Correctional Center. The 89-year old was granted home detention Friday by the Department of Public Safety.
"The fact that we had to take him to the E.R. at least twice in a short time. And the fact that he developed another particular condition that may require urgent care very shortly, our physician said that we cannot provide appropriate care for Mr. Pflueger in K.C.C.C. or any other facility," says Ted Sakai, DPS Director.
Sakai describes Pflueger's conditions as life threatening.
The retired auto dealer was sentenced to seven months in jail for a deadly Kauai dam breach that killed seven people.
State Senator Will Espero, who is on the Public Safety Committee questions the early release decision.
"It looks like a double standard -- I'm not saying it is -- but there is certainly room for questioning and getting some answers that might provide for a better understanding of the situation," Espero says.
Sakai understands the criticism and says it was not an easy decision.
"I had to weigh several things, not only his health, our ability to care for him, the exposure our facility would have if we continued to hold him and not be able to properly care for him," Sakai says Pflueger will be monitored electronically. He is allowed to leave his Honolulu home for doctor appointments. And if his conditions improve, he could return to K.C.C.C.
Pflueger was sentenced on Oct. 15, after being convicted for the 2006 Ka Loko Dam breach.