Say offered plea deal in drug charge

After enduring crushed lungs and broken bones, it was more painful for Lisa Wilson to watch as the man accused of running her over was offered a plea deal yesterday.

Byron Say, the fugitive who was arrested Feb. 16 after consistently eluding police on several high-speed chases, was in Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe’s courtroom yesterday.

Say faces felony charges in three separate cases, which include third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia for heroin found in foil, which police said was in Say’s possession the day of the hit and run that changed Wilson’s life.

Say also faces charges for methamphetamine trafficking, first- and second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and two counts of possession of paraphernalia, related to a March 2006 arrest in Kapa‘a.

In addition, Say faces charges of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and attempted tampering with physical evidence, which stem from a 2006 incident in which methamphetamine was found floating in Say’s holding-cell toilet.

His sister-in-law, Aquila Say, is accused of driving one of his get-away cars. The two were offered a combined plea deal yesterday by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the details of which have not been disclosed.

The case — continued for either an acceptance of the plea deal or the scheduling of a trial date — has been a series of disappointments for Wilson, who feels she has been robbed of all recourse within the criminal justice system.

Byron Say faces no charges for the injuries Wilson endured when he allegedly ran her over in June 2005.

Wilson, who was riding on the back of a motorcycle, said she was torn from it, crushed by Say’s car and dragged.

As a result, Wilson suffered two collapsed lungs, 12 fractured ribs, an obliterated spleen, multiple fractures in her hips and pelvis, two broken humeri — one of which is beyond repair — and road rash so severe that her trademark freckles have been permanently erased where the street burned off her skin.

As though those injuries and the exploratory surgery she endured weren’t enough, the prosthetic limb implanted in her left arm — which dangles wrought with nerve damage — is in need of a doctor.

But Wilson is having trouble finding one willing to chisel the prosthesis out and graft part of her hip bone so she can move her left arm again.

She also is in need of surgery on her right, “good arm,” because she cannot wash her hair or reach high shelves, she said.

According to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Say isn’t being charged in relation to Wilson’s injuries because of double jeopardy issues — prosecutors failed to combine a DUI charge with charges relating to Wilson, a technicality which caused a judge to dismiss the felony charge of negligent injury.

Instead, all that remains of the charges relating to that day are two Class-C felony counts he faces related to drug possession when, after a high-speed chase, police found him hiding in a taro patch. Those charges could land him a maximum of 10 years in jail, unless he pleads guilty, accepting the plea deal.

The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office couldn’t charge Say with negligent injury instead of the drug offenses because Say pleaded “guilty” to a DUI during a time when there were several courts on the island.

While Say’s attorneys filed a guilty plea to DUI in a Hanalei district court, his felony charges were filed separately in Lihu‘e.

Because residents cannot be charged for the same crime twice, and because Say had admitted to DUI — meaning the charge couldn’t be dropped and switched — the charges in which vehicular injury should have been bundled cannot be augmented.

Wilson, who has exhausted her financial resources, said the Say family has offered her $120,000 from car insurance money.

But, she said, that won’t cover her medical bills or attorney fees, nor will it assist with her living expenses.

Wilson, who was not insured when the accident happened, has neither money nor a job.

“She used to be an aerobics instructor,” said friend Steve Wheeler, who was driving the motorcycle off which Wilson was torn.

Fighting back tears, Wilson said that going from being the pillar of health to being in chronic pain has been a harrowing life adjustment.

Both Byron and his sister-in-law, Aquila Say, will appear in court at 8:30 on April 5, the date the plea offer is scheduled to expire.

Once the case is finalized by a conviction judgment or acquittal, the state or Say’s attorneys have 30 days to file an appeal.

• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or agregg@kauaipubco.com.

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