LIHU‘E — The mere presence of drugs in a driver’s system, even without knowing the amount, was enough to receive a five-year prison term for a traffic collision that claimed a life and injured two others in 2010.
William Camm Corbett, 63, of Lihue, said a day does not go by that he relives the morning of Feb. 11, 2010. He was driving a Kauai Coffee delivery van along Kuhio Highway in Lawai, when it crossed into the oncoming lane.
The van collided with a car driven by 59-year-old Glenn Doi, who died later that day from his injuries. A driver and occupant of a third car were also injured when they rear-ended Doi’s vehicle after collision.
“He didn’t deserve to die like that,” Corbett said. “I would have preferred to die in that wreck.”
Corbett pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree negligent homicide, and two counts of third-degree assault as charged on May 6 in 5th Circuit.
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said the state asked for the full prison term in part for a criminal record and the seriousness of the offense.
“This was a horrific collision,” she said, noting that a blood test detected the presence of drugs.
Mendes said Corbett was charged with a misdemeanor drug offense in 1991 and received a deferred acceptance of no-contest plea. He was convicted of a felony methamphetamine charge in 2001 and sentenced to prison after his violating his probation for testing positive again in 2002.
Several members of the Doi family were in court. A niece of Doi said they felt a five-year prison term was not long enough. Not a day goes by they do not think about him, she said.
Private defense attorney Miles Breiner said the collision was tragic, but the case is also troubling in that it took the state nearly two years to get a grand jury indictment in January 2012.
No one is hiding the fact Corbett was in treatment and the presence of amphetamine and methamphetamine was detected in his system, Breiner said. However, there was no toxicology to show any specific amount to determine if it was the primary cause.
Breiner said an MRI showed that Corbett suffered a stroke. This would explain why he claims to have lost consciousness, he said.
Breiner said doctors believe Corbett suffered a stroke, officially, and he was to see a doctor that day about dizziness and coronary problems. He asked the court for a sentence of probation or a suspended jail term for reasons including failing health.
“Three years have passed since this case occurred and there was no repeat behavior or violations of his conditional release,” Breiner said. “He has appeared at court hearings and has shown remorse.”
Watanabe said the court would not attempt to balance a medical factor as contributing to the accident. She said there were drugs in his system and he pleaded no contest to second-degree negligent homicide.
“You made the conscious decision, not withstanding all of that, to get behind the wheel and to operate a vehicle,” Watanabe said. “That is the crux of the problem and that is the crux of this tragedy that ended in one life ending and two other people being seriously injured.”
The Doi family received a financial settlement in a separate civil settlement with the employer’s insurance. The court order $10,932.28 and $3,942 to each of the two remaining victims injured in the accident.
Watanabe said she hoped the sentencing would bring some closure to the family of the victim.
“We are satisfied with the sentence,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. “Although nothing we do can bring Mr. Doi back to life, we are glad to have achieved this measure of justice.”