Jury finds former Hawaii Island officer guilty of third-degree negligent homicide

Jury finds former Hawaii Island officer guilty of third-degree negligent homicide
(Source: Hawaii News Now/File)

HAWAII ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Hawaii County police officer has been found guilty of misdemeanor negligent homicide.

Jody Buddemeyer was on trial accused of hitting and killing cyclist Jeffrey Surnow while driving a police car on Waikoloa Road in Kohala more than three years ago. Surnow was 63 years old at the time of the crash.

West Hawaii Today reports that the jury returned the verdict Friday after deliberating on the case for nearly six hours.

Initially, he faced a charge of first-degree negligent homicide, but was instead found guilty of lesser third-degree negligent homicide. He was also found not guilty of evidence tampering and false reporting to law enforcement, West Hawaii Today said.

Buddemeyer’s defense had argued that he was fatigued at the time of the crash due to working a double-back shift.

After the guilty verdict, he now faces up to one year incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,000 at sentencing, which is set for next month.

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