Three motorists indicted

LIHUE — Three separate motorists are facing charges involving accident-related deaths after each driver was indicted by a grand jury last week in 5th Circuit Court.

Robert Wayne Yount, 82, of Kalaheo, is charged with first-degree negligent homicide.

Wayne was the driver of a vehicle of a Mazda MPVH that struck and killed Jill Garnett, 26, of Waimea, as she was walking west on the eastbound shoulder of Kaumualii Highway near the Kipu Road junction in Puhi shortly before 9 a.m. on March 16.

Yount, who was not injured, was arrested and booked on a charge of second-degree negligent homicide after the accident. He was released pending further investigation.

Yount was allegedly driving erratically before and at the time of the accident, according to details in a civil suit filed against Oct. 16. The suit was filed by Garnett’s family and represented by the Lihue firm of Hempey and Meyers.

Yount is also charged with two counts each of inattention to driving, and accidents involving damage to unattended vehicle or other property. The charges relate to driving in a negligent manner, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to render aid or seek assistance for the victim.

• Joshua Kaleo Fernandez, 23, of Anahola, is charged with manslaughter, first-degree negligent homicide, second-degree assault, two counts of first-degree negligent injury, and second-degree assault. The charges stem from a two-car crash at 2:47 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2011.

Fernandez was the driver of a Ford Explorer that crossed the centerline into the southbound lane of Kuhio Highway fronting the Wailua Golf Course. His vehicle collided with a Dodge pickup truck.

The crash resulted in the death of Joshua’s passenger Laurey Fernandez, 56, of Anahola, and seriously injured two other passengers, Jefferson Venzon and Iris Venzon.

The driver of the Dodge truck was treated and released and a passenger was unharmed.

Fernandez is also charged with driving in a negligent manner while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

• Charlotte Smith Kaui, 82, of Kapaa, is charged with second-degree negligent homicide, and inattention to driving. The charges stem from an accident around 5 p.m. July 20.

Kaui turned left onto Lanikai Street from the southbound lane of Kuhio Highway and allegedly collided with an oncoming motorcyclist, Thomas Newsom, 52, of Kapaa, who died as a result of his injuries.

Kaui was also hospitalized with nonlife threatening injuries. She was arrested later on charges of second-degree negligent homicide but released pending a police investigation.

County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar couldn’t comment on details of the three cases pending trial. The indictments were filed Nov. 13.

“We consider vehicular homicides in general to be one of the biggest categories of preventable deaths in our community,” Kollar said. “Sometimes vehicular homicide cases take more time than others to get to grand jury due to the technical investigation, reconstruction work, and gathering of medical records and toxicology reports.”

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