DUI crash injuring four children sparks stiffer penalty debate among MADD, Honolulu prosecutor

Local News

The Honolulu Prosecutors Office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are speaking out against driving under the influence this holiday season.

This comes after a man was arrested for DUI Saturday night when he crashed an SUV into a coconut tree on Ala Moana Boulevard, sending two 4-year-old girls, a 5-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, and a 29-year-old woman to the hospital in serious condition.

“These children don’t know better.” MADD spokesperson Theresa Paulette said.

“These children were very young they were 4 and 7 and they have no knowledge. They believe their parents are going to keep them safe and they’re trusting. That’s what is so truly sad about this.” she added.

There is currently a law bolstering penalties of a DUI if a child is in the car.

“If there’s a child younger than 15 there are additional penalties enhanced we say.” Acting Honolulu Prosecutor Dwight Nadamato said.

“Two days extra jail and an additional fine of $500 dollars. And at the minimum two years of driver license revocation,” he added.

MADD wants to increase those penalties.

“It sounds very lenient doesn’t it?” Paulette opined.

“I hope that moving forward that would be increased. MADD will always go forward every year to try to close up loopholes and tighten up laws. People don’t pay attention unless the penalties are severe enough.”

The prosecutor’s said that they will take another look at the law and see if they can enhance it. If done, it could parallel the tightening of penalties on repeat DUI offenders which took effect in July.

“In July we started the habitual DUI,” Nadamoto said.

“We have new laws in place but at last check, we had 20. There’s probably much by more by then and of those 20 one is a repeat.”

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