Brittney Kane sentenced for 2011 vehicular manslaughter - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Brittney Kane sentenced for 2011 vehicular manslaughter

Brittney Kane Brittney Kane
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Brittney L. Kane, age 20 of Koloa, was today sentenced for the 2011 fatal crash that killed 16-year-old Nahele Kapua and seriously injured 15-year-old passenger Koahe Cordeiro.

The Honorable Kathleen N.A. Watanabe, Circuit Court Judge of the Fifth Circuit, sentenced the Defendant to spend a year in jail and serve a 10-year term of probation. Kane's driver's license was revoked for five years, and the Court ordered her to perform 500 hours of community service and pay more than $7,000 in restitution for funeral expenses.

The Court further ordered Kane to give public presentations about the dangers of drinking and driving, and to write letters to The Garden Island newspaper on the dangers of drinking and driving and racing on the highways.

Kane, then 16, had been drinking alcohol with her two friends on the evening of September 11, 2011, while at a teenage birthday party in a cabana at the Aloha Beach Resort in Kapa‘a. Later that night, they were driving from Hanama‘ulu back to the hotel party, after inviting another friend to join them. Up to a dozen teens attended the unchaperoned party, which the Defendant helped plan, and were consuming beer, jello shots, and “jungle juice,” a concoction of fruit, juice and alcohol.

Just prior to the collision, Kane, driving a red Pontiac Grand AM, began racing a Mazda RX7 on the highway, traveling at speeds over 75 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone. She then lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a tree on the side of the highway.

Kapua, the back seat passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and died upon impact with the ground. Kane and Cordeiro had to be extricated from the crumpled vehicle, which had come to rest on its roof after flipping over.

During the investigation, an expert determined that at the time of the crash, Kane had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of approximately .153 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, well over the legal limit of .08 BAC for persons over the age of 21 years. No measurable amount is allowed for those driving while under the age of 21.

In late 2013, Family Court waived jurisdiction over Kane after an evidentiary hearing. Kane was subsequently indicted by a grand jury and the case was set for trial in Circuit Court.

On February 9, 2015, pursuant to a plea agreement, Kane pled no contest to the charges of Manslaughter and Negligent Injury in the First Degree.

Court Appointed Attorney Rosa Flores represented the Defendant in Circuit Court. Melinda K. Mendes was the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney assigned to the case. Mendes also acts as Hawai‘i's Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor. Det. Ray Takekawa, then with the Traffic Safety Section of Kaua‘i Police Department, was the lead KPD Investigator.

Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar thanked the investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates who worked on the case. Kollar praised Judge Watanabe for her sensitivity and diligence in crafting a difficult sentence that will hopefully educate others, and also warned of the dangers of drinking and driving:

“We have lost too many young lives to drinking and driving. This immense tragedy is compounded by the knowledge that it was utterly avoidable. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kapua family as they move forward in their lives without their daughter, Nahele. Especially with graduation season fast approaching, we urge everyone, particularly the young people in our community, to learn from the devastating impact cases like these have on everyone they touch. Please make safe and smart decisions; the lives of our children, grandchildren and siblings are far too precious to be cast aside so senselessly.”

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