Pflueger indicted in Ka Loko dam breach - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pflueger indicted in Ka Loko dam breach

William McCorriston William McCorriston

By Zahid Arab bio | email

KAUAI (KHNL) -  A Kauai grand jury Friday indicted former car dealer Jimmy Pflueger for manslaughter and reckless endangerment for the deadly Ka Loko Dam break on the Garden Island.

The indictment was handed down, but the finger pointing continues as both the defense and prosecution debate over who's at fault for the incident.

In March of 2006, Kauai's Ka loko Dam burst. The raging waters devastated homes, took out a section of Kuhio highway and killed seven people, sweeping them out to sea.

After a nearly three year criminal investigation, a Kauai grand jury indicted 82-year old Jimmy Pflueger on seven counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless endangering.

Pflueger continues to maintain his innocence.

"The state is responsible and for them to try and pin it on one individual is absolutely wrong," said Defense Attorney William McCorriston.

Attorney General Mark Bennett is the lead prosecutor, he says the indictment holds Pflueger responsible, but ultimately, it's now up to a criminal jury to decide.

"Mr. Pflueger is clothed by law in a presumption of innocence and that presumption remains until he's proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," said Attorney General Mark Bennett.

The defense is willing to share some of the blame, but it says the state's also at fault. Among the disputes:  who owned the property, Pflueger's cooperation in safety inspections, and allegations that he covered the dam's spillway years before it broke.

"They were either negligent or horribly incompetent in classifying that dam or else they didn't care," said McCorriston.

With seven lives lost, and one who's future will be determined by the court's findings, both sides remain tight-lipped about surprise evidence they say will swing the jury's decision in their favor.

Attorneys say Pflueger is devastated and disappointed with the indictment. He's recovering from major heart surgery right now, but is expected to turn himself in a few weeks.

Each of the 82-year-old's manslaughter charges carry a maximum jail term of 20 years.

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