Expectant mom gets 18 months in prison for deadly DUI crash - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Expectant mom gets 18 months in prison for deadly DUI crash

Sarah Whitford Sarah Whitford
Valaile Fuiava Valaile Fuiava
Lahela Moeaveave | Lani Pakele Lahela Moeaveave | Lani Pakele
Dorcas Fuiava Dorcas Fuiava
Keala Fuiava Keala Fuiava

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - He survived two tours in Vietnam. However, a retired Marine from Oahu's North Shore could not survive the actions of a drunken driver.

The woman responsible for his death received her punishment Wednesday.

Sarah Whitford, 27, is now four months pregnant. The sentence she received Wednesday means she'll give birth while in prison.

With photos of him close to their hearts, grieving family members talk about their "Samoan Superman."

"He was the strongest and toughest man in the world. If someone were to shoot him with a gun, he'd catch the bullet," Lahela Moeaveave, victim's daughter, said through tears. "But on March 31, 2007, my hero died."

Valaile Fuiava, 55, was riding his motorcycle home from work, when Sarah Whitford's speeding car slammed into him.

Prosecutors say her vehicle was traveling at 56 to 77 miles per hour in a 25 mile-per-hour zone. They say her blood-alcohol level an hour after the crash was .20, two-and-a-half times the legal limit.

"I have never felt a greater loss than when I lost my husband," Dorcas Fuiava, victim's wife, said through tears.

The victim was the sole provider for his family, was a pastor at his church, and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart during his military service in the Vietnam War.

"If his life had ended there, it would have been more worthwhile 'cause he died doing what he strongly believed in," Lani Pakele, victim's sister, said through tears. "Instead, he was killed like an animal."

"His congregation lost a pastor. The United States Marines lost a warrior," Keala Fuiava, victim's daughter-in-law, said through tears.

Whitford pleaded no contest to first-degree negligent homicide. Since the crash, she has undergone alcohol abuse treatment and says she's been sober for more than a year.

"I'm a human being who made a huge mistake, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life," she said.

The judge sentences the expectant mom to 18 months in prison and five years probation. She'll start serving her term this Friday.

"This is as bad as I've ever seen it, as far as the emotions on both sides. It's horrible," Michael Green, defense attorney, said. "I hope it sends a message out to people that, you know, when you drink and you drive, terrible things happen."

Whitford is also ordered to pay $7,777.48 in restitution.

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