Results still pending in pedestrians deaths

LIHUE — The Kauai Police Department has completed its investigation into the January death of a pedestrian who was struck by a car and then struck a second time by a police officer who was responding to the scene.

The department is still investigating a separate June incident in which a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle and killed near the seawall at Nawiliwili Harbor.

No decisions on possible charges have been made in either case, county spokeswoman Sarah Blane said.

In January, 19-year-old Michael Kocher, Jr. of Hanapepe was walking on the roadway west of the main entrance to Kaumakani camp on Kaumualii Highway near the trestle bridge about 9:35 p.m. when he was struck by an eastbound Toyota Corolla. A police officer responding to the scene hit Kocher a second time.

Kocher was presumed dead at the scene. It is still unclear whether Kocher was already dead from the first hit before being struck a second time.

Following the incident, the police officer involved was assigned to administrative duties.

The Kauai Police Department has completed its investigation and forwarded those results to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney to determine whether charges are warranted. No timeline has been given for when a decision will be made.

Police are still investigating a separate June case in which 37-year-old Michael Helppie of Lawai was struck and killed by an SUV near the Kalapaki seawall along Nawiliwili Park about 1:45 a.m.

Evan Craft, the driver of the SUV, was arrested for manslaughter and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He has since been released, pending further investigation. Because he hasn’t been charged in a crime, restrictions haven’t been placed on his travel. The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will determine whether to bring charges after police complete their investigation.


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