Byron Say opts for trial

LIHU’E — Byron Say was arraigned in Circuit Court Tuesday, and entered a not-guilty plea to felony charges relating to a June 25 traffic accident with injuries in Hanalei.

Circuit Court Judge George Masuoka set a Monday, Dec. 19, trial date for Say.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe will preside over the trial.

Say was charged in connection with an accident involving death or serious injury, according to Kaua’i Police Department arrest records.

Say allegedly fled the scene of the accident after first hitting from behind a motorcycle driven by Steve Wheeler with his rental car, then running over motorcycle passenger Lisa Wilson’s body before stopping, according to prosecutors.

He then allegedly fled into nearby taro fields off Kuhio Highway near the one-lane bridge over the Hanalei River. According to prosecutors, the injury-accident charge is a Class-B felony.

Say was also charged with promoting dangerous drugs, a Class-C felony; possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class-C felony; and causing first-degree negligent injury.

Say was accompanied Tuesday by his attorney June Ikemoto. Ikemoto has argued double jeopardy on behalf of her client, because all the charges were not consolidated.

A defendant cannot be sentenced on one offense committed during an incident, and then be tried on other offenses related to the same incident.

Say entered a nocontest plea last month to a separate charge of operating his vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII), a petty misdemeanor, on June 25.

Attorneys in the county prosecutor’s office would not comment on whether Say had been offered a plea arrangement on his remaining felony charges.

According to information provided by attorneys in the county prosecutor’s office, in any case, if a petty misdemeanor offense is left in District Court and related felonies are bound over to Circuit Court, then either the defendant could not be tried on the felonies if he or she was sentenced on the petty misdemeanor first, or could not be sentenced on the petty misdemeanor if tried on the felonies first.

The only way to ensure that neither goes before the other is to consolidate before the preliminary hearing, so that all matters are bound over to Circuit Court.

Wilson and Wheeler were in the court Tuesday, Wilson still confined to a wheelchair as a result of the accident that left her hospitalized in Honolulu for several weeks.

“I though we’d be farther along than this,” said Wilson, who suffered multiple injuries in the incident, and has undergone several surgeries.

Wilson and Wheeler have retained attorney Mark Zenger to pursue civil damages in the case,

Senda declared Say guilty of the OVUII charge. Sentencing will take place Tuesday, Nov. 22, following a full, pre-sentencing investigation requested by Deputy County Prosecutor Thomas Haia.

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