NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just down the road from Kaulana Werner's home in Nanakuli, Gov. David Ige signed Senate Bill 2582 into law, effectively doubling the possible prison time for hit-and-run offenders.
Kaulana Werner was hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver in 2016.
"Seeing this bill go through, it's just amazing, it eases our pain," said Ed Werner, Kaulana's father.
Nicknamed "Kaulana's Bill," SB2582 authorizes the courts to extend prison terms for offenders convicted of first-degree negligent homicide when the offender fails to stop to render aid to the injured.
Right now, negligent homicide holds a maximum sentence of 10 years. This bill enhances it to 20.
Kaulana's family, friends, and supporters say that the bill represents a triumph in the midst of Kaulana's tragic loss.
"I'm signing Kaulana's Bill in honor of Kaulana, his family, and all the families that have tragically lost loved ones in this way," said Gov. David Ige, at the ceremony.
"To have a bill passed for the first time that it's introduced in the legislature is unheard of," said Police Chief susan Ballard at the ceremony. "And I credit the family and the community for coming together and pushing this through."
Myisha Lee Armitage, 23, faces charges of first-degree negligent homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free on $11,000 bail.
Kaulana's mother Paula says although her son is no longer with her physically, his legacy lives on.
"We live right across the street across the street from where he was hit and killed. So, it's a daily, minute, second, reminder. So, I know that with this bill, it will help others. Hopefully it will help others to think before they choose to drink and drive," Paula Werner said.
Armitage was scheduled to face a judge last September, but the trial was pushed back to January of 2018, then again to May, and once again to July 30th.