‘There were no real winners’

LIHUE — A man accused of driving his car recklessly while drunk and leaving a woman paralyzed from the shoulders down was found not guilty on all counts last Thursday.

Kainalu Gayagas of Kapaa was facing multiple misdemeanor charges including OVUII, second-degree reckless endangering, inattention to driving, and reckless driving for a 2013 accident that left former girlfriend Jaycie Kobayashi Apilado of Hanamaulu in a wheelchair.

After a three-day bench trial, which began in November, Gayagas was acquitted.

“There were no real winners,” said Gayagas’ defense attorney Michael Soong. “It’s sad because this girl has horrific injuries. It’s a sad situation all the way around.”

According to police reports, paramedics responded to a single-vehicle collision on Kuhio Highway in Wailua around 12:25 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2013 that left a female injured.

Prior to the incident, Gayagas and Kobayashi — a Kauai High School graduate — were at a party celebrating Gayagas’ friends’ birthday before heading to another social gathering.

Details about what happened after Gayagas and Kobayashi left the event are unknown.

Soong said his client never disputed that he was the driver of the car, but the state could not prove that he was impaired at the time of the incident.

Blood results for the OVUII charge were suppressed.

Both the defense and the state agreed that there was just not enough evidence to prove to the judge that the defendant was guilty.

Prosecuting Attorney Kollar commended his team and the police who handled the investigation.

“It was a hard case,” Kollar said. “It’s disappointing but we were willing to give it our best effort. I have no reason to believe this was a monumental loss. I have to give credit to KPD road investigators who put together the case with little resources.”

Soong said his client, although stressed about the event, was relieved everything was over.

However, Soong said Gayagas would not comment due to a possible future civil suit.

The Kobayashi and Apilado family could not be reached for comment.

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