State lawmaker asks prosecutor to dismiss Tuesday traffic gridlock tickets

Published: Apr. 2, 2015 at 9:15 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 2, 2015 at 9:17 AM HST
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Letter from Rep. LoPresti
Letter from Rep. LoPresti

At least one state lawmaker has written a letter to Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, asking him to dismiss any traffic citations that were issued for cell phone or shoulder lane use during Tuesday's traffic nightmare.

Dr. Matthew LoPresti, who represents Ewa Beach residents who were likely among those affected by the gridlock, released the full text of the letter on Twitter on Wednesday, calling the incident a "highly unusual situation."

"Please use the authority of your office to dismiss all of these citations," LoPresti wrote.

LoPresti says drivers had a compelling need to use their cell phones. Some motorists were ticketed for driving in shoulder lanes along the H-1 despite state Department of Transportation officials allowing their use, a message that was apparently never communicated to the Honolulu Police Department.

At least 65 drivers were given citations for illegal cell phone use, many of them issued during a pre-planned operation that continued on Tuesday afternoon even as the traffic situation worsened.

The captain of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division apologized for not ending the operation sooner, though he noted that citations that were issued would not be thrown out.

On Twitter, LoPresti wrote that he would aid any Ewa Beach constituent who was ticketed during the gridlock.

"If my constituents got tickets for smart phone or shldr lane use b/c of #zipnado #HItraffic & we can't get em dismissed then I'll help pay."

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