Police Union Defends Investigation Of Fatal Tour Bus Crash

Det. Alex Garcia
Det. Alex Garcia
This SUV was hit by a tour bus in Kahaluu on June 12, killing a 41 year old Kaneohe man
This SUV was hit by a tour bus in Kahaluu on June 12, killing a 41 year old Kaneohe man

(KHNL) -- Should police have forced the tour bus driver involved in last week's deadly crash to give up a blood sample? The union representing police officers speaks out for the first time since that collision.

What caused a tour bus to veer across the center line and crush an SUV?

The bus driver, Steve Oshiro, refused to give a sample of his blood for alcohol and drug testing. Prosecutors say an officer could force a driver to give up a sample when a crash is deadly.

"There is a law that says that if there's death or serious bodily injury, then there is a requirement that the police draw blood," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu Prosecutor, said Monday. "There is some controversy regarding that."

"The law is clear in a law school classroom or at the halls of the Legislature," Det. Alex Garcia, police union Oahu chair, said. "It's not a perfect world. We have to deal with what we have."

The police officers' union is now responding to the criticism surrounding the investigation. It says even in a deadly crash like the one in Kahaluu, an officer can't get a blood draw without probable cause.

"If he doesn't smell the alcohol on the breath or doesn't know that the guy has drug, they don't find drugs in the car or the bus or open beer containers, there's no reasonable suspicion," Garcia said.

He says even with probable cause, getting blood from a suspect is not that simple.

"They're not there because they want to be. They're always hesitant to cooperate," Garcia said. "And sometimes they're so violent, you can't even take their picture let alone draw blood."

Garcia says over the years, city attorneys have given conflicting opinions about the blood-draw law.

Police arrested the bus driver on suspicion of third-degree negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, then released him.