Tour bus driver wants trial for deadly crash, sentencing postponed

Michael Green
Michael Green

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A former tour bus driver, convicted in a 2006 deadly crash, was set to receive his 20-year prison sentence Wednesday. Under a plea deal with prosecutors, he would serve half that.

But the sentencing was postponed until Monday, after Steve Oshiro decided he wants to take back his no-contest plea.

In January, the former Roberts Hawaii driver threw in the towel and pleaded no contest to manslaughter for a crash in Kahaluu two years ago. Now, he has a new lawyer and wants a do-over.

"He did what he was advised to do," Michael Green, defense attorney, said. "And I just think that, I think he needs to be given a trial in the case."

Corey Voss, 41, died when a giant bus crossed the center line of Kamehameha Highway, and demolished his SUV.

Oshiro had just dropped off a group of tourists from Kansas. A passenger took video of the ride.

Green says his client was impaired because of exhaustion, not from methamphetamine use as prosecutors allege.

"The drivers who drive tour buses for Roberts are working 60, 70, 80, 90 hours a week. Twelve hours would be a minimum," Green said. "But if, if they don't drive, they get fired."

Oshiro is now suing the company, and may have another bus driver on his side.

According to court documents, a female driver recently told a Roberts dispatcher "she was exhausted and did not feel she could work another tour" after she accidentally backed into a sign. She says she was told "turn in your shirt, you're (expletive) fired."

"She was in fear of her safety, the safety of her passengers and the safety of the public simply due to exhaustion," Green said. "That's unbelievable."

Roberts says it hasn't seen Oshiro's lawsuit and, therefore, can't comment.

Prosecutors are opposed to the plea withdrawal, saying Oshiro entered his no-contest plea knowingly and voluntarily, and his request wasn't filed within a reasonable time.