HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The driver of a pick-up that slammed into a concrete barrier near Makua Cave -- killing a 16-year-old boy -- addressed the victim's family Wednesday, in an emotional courtroom exchange three years to the day after the crash happened.
Kamealohanakekaiau Wilbur-Delima broke down in tears as he addressed the family of Zain Lalawai at a sentencing hearing, telling them he took responsibility for the crash and would forever be sorry.
He told the judge he would have never left the burning vehicle if he knew Lalawai hadn't escaped. He then turned to the family and broke down.
By the time he was finished speaking, there was hardly a dry eye in the courtroom.
That's when Lalawai's parents walked over to where he was standing and embraced him. One of them told Delima how much they needed this.
Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom to capture the exchange, but afterwards family members said they felt Wilbur-Delima's words were heartfelt.
"Time does heal stuff and we saw that today with the hug," said Ricky Bradbury, Dilima's hanai brother. "That was good on both of their parts. I think the judge really took what happened in the courtroom into consideration in his sentencing."
Delima, who was 18 when the crash happened, was sentenced to one year behind bars and five years probation. He faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Although the day brought closure for some, Lalawai's grandmother believes the judge was too lenient.
"I think he got away with the case," said Hannah Lalawai. "I mean I lost my grandson. He was only 16 years old."
Wilbur-Delima admitted he had been drinking when he left a party in 2012, and got behind the wheel of a pick-up with at least 11 teens on board. The pick-up slammed into a concrete barrier along Farrington Highway just after midnight, and burst into flames.
Lalawai died at the scene. Four other teens were hospitalized. Wilbur-Delima fled, but turned himself in 12 hours later.
One of the terms of Delima's probation requires him to do community service, in which he'll share his story in an effort to prevent drunk driving.