LIHUE — A motion by the defense for approval of litigation expenses for an accident reconstruction expert in a case against a man charged on nine counts in the death of a Kapaa woman was granted in Fifth Circuit Court Monday.
Cody Safadago stood quietly before Chief Judge Randall Valenciano as his new attorney Emmanuel Guerrero argued the basis for the motion on his behalf.
The defense maintains that Safadago was not operating the vehicle that killed 19-year-old Kayla Huddy-Lemn on April 27, 2017.
“It’s an issue of causation he was not the person who did it. It is his position. His injuries would show that it was not consistent with someone having been involved with that type of an accident,” Guerrero said.
Because the state has an expert indicating Safadago’s injuries are consistent with the person who drove the vehicle, the defense needs to have an independent examiner, he said.
In late July, there was a previous motion for an accident re-constructionist filed, but it was filed as an ex parte motion, which Valenciano denied, because the motion needed to be filed in open court.
During the investigation following the accident, one of the officers indicated the injuries Safadago had sustained were consistent with him being the driver, so that is the issue that will have to be resolved in this case, Valenciano said.
“I believe Mr. Safadago made statements that he was not the driver in this matter,” Valenciano said.
He continued: “The expert that’s being requested will assist the jury or the fact finder in making that type of determination.
According to police reports, Safadago was driving a stolen pickup truck when it crossed the center line on Kuhio Highway in front of the Courtyards at Waipouli apartment complex, striking a sedan head-on driven by Huddy-Lemn.
After the impact, the truck continued south for about 500 feet until it came to a stop near Kintaro Japanese Restaurant.
Huddy-Lemn was transported to Wilcox Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Safadago sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident.
An on-scene investigation revealed the truck allegedly driven by Safadago was stolen from a home in Kapaa just minutes before the accident. Safadago allegedly fled the scene on foot, but was later located by police near the Wailua Shopping Plaza and was apprehended following a struggle.
Safadago, originally from Washington state, was believed to be living in the Kalalau Valley before the crash.
Safadago is scheduled for a jury trial on Sept. 17 in a separate case and is scheduled for a jury trial for this matter on Oct. 29.