HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A driver who fatally struck a doctor on Oahu’s North Shore could face up to 20 years in prison under a new sentencing statute known as Kaulana’s Law.
Jeremy Lee pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for running over Dr. Eugene Chin in Mokuleia last September then fleeing the scene.
A witness told a state judge Wednesday that Lee was driving so erratically when he fled that he nearly ran him off the road.
“When the car got closer to me, I rolled down my window and stuck out a double middle finger, looked the driver right in the face and told him to slow the 'f' down," said Scott Gruzinsky, who was driving at the opposite side of the road.
Testimony of Lee’s alleged reckless behavior was among the evidence prosecutors presented to show that Lee should get a stiffer jail sentence.
Prosecutors also included security camera video showing Lee, apparently drunk, staggering out of his car in Waialua just minutes after he ran over Chin.
Negligent homicide is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But that could double if he’s considered a danger to the public.
The new sentencing law was enacted last year after 19-year-old Kaulana Werner was killed by a drunk driver in Nanakuli three years ago.
Werner’s family said they’re glad prosecutors are applying the law to this case.
“If you hit someone and don’t stop to render aid, it’s a state law now and that should send a strong message to everybody," said Werner’s father, Ed.