LIHUE — A recipient of the Kauai Police Department’s 2010 Top Cop award has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and inattention to driving, according to the state’s Department of the Attorney General.
KPD Sgt. Colin Nesbitt of Lihue, 44, was arrested for OVUII and refusal to undergo a breathalyzer test on May 23, according to a KPD arrest log. He was not charged for the latter offense.
Sarah Blane, KPD spokeswoman, said police responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash involving Nesbitt about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 23, near Halewili Road in Kalaheo.
Nesbitt, who was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2010, was off-duty at the time.
“The Kauai Police Department understands the seriousness of these allegations,” KPD Chief Darryl Perry said in statement. “We have conducted an internal investigation and now await the result of the AG’s investigation and determination. Upon completion of those investigations, we will take appropriate action in accordance with procedures.”
Nesbitt is on leave from KPD, Blane said. Spokeswoman Mary Daubert said the county couldn’t say whether it was paid or unpaid leave because it involves personnel.
Justin Kollar, Kauai County prosecuting attorney, said the county handed Nesbitt’s case to the state Attorney General’s office because of potential conflicting interests.
“Basically, if we get a case and we feel that it may be a conflict of interest for the office to handle it, we send it out,” he said Tuesday.
Kollar said if convicted of OVUII, under Hawaii state law, Nesbitt could face a one year license revocation, two to five days in jail or 72 hours community service, a fine of up to $1,000 and must undergo a 14-hour minimum alcohol-drug treatment program.
Joshua Wisch, special assistant to the Hawaii attorney general, said penalties for inattention to driving as a first offense include a fine of up to $500 or jail up to 30 days, or both, and a surcharge of up to $100 for the trauma system special fund.
Additionally, Wisch said, an ignition interlock device would be installed if Nesbitt is found guilty.
“There is currently no trial date set,” Wisch wrote in an email. “The case is still in pre-trial in Kauai District Court.”
The next court date is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 18, to set a trial date, he added.
Victor Bakke, Nesbitt’s attorney, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Nesbitt has been with Kauai police since 2006 and was promoted to sergeant in June 2013, Daubert said.
The graduate of the 78th KPD Recruit Class has been honored with numerous awards throughout his eight-year career with Kauai police, according to previous reports.
At a 2011 Police Commission meeting, Nesbitt was awarded the Star Medal for his work in the Waimea District, a Kauai County release stated.
The distinction is KPD’s highest award for service in the fight against drugs on Kauai and is awarded for distinguished service above and beyond the normal demands of duty.
Additionally, MADD, an advocacy group that seeks to abolish drinking and driving, honored Nesbitt and other patrol officers for the highest number of arrests for OVUII in 2010, according to reports. Nesbitt made nine OVUII arrests in 2010.
In a TGI report, retired KPD officer Sherwin Kaleo Perez said in 2009 Nesbitt issued 500 traffic citations, 21 of which were for speeding. Nesbitt also affected 123 arrests, including six for OVUII.
Through 2009, Nesbitt initiated seven search warrants and obtained evidence from searches to affect related arrests off the evidence seized, Perez added.
Nesbitt has been named KPD officer of the month in 2008 and 2010, according to KPD reports.