Koloa man pleads no contest

LIHUE — A Koloa man who caused a crash that killed a Kekaha man nearly two years ago pleaded no contest Monday to charges stemming from that crash.

Joseph Michael Frye, 36, appeared before Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe with his defense attorney Nelson Goo. His sentencing is scheduled for July 13.

Frye pleaded no contest to three of four counts on the 2015 indictment, including second-degree negligent homicide, second-degree reckless endangering and reckless driving for a 2014 accident that killed 56-year-old Jonathan Renti Cruz.

A manslaughter, which is a class A felony, charge was dismissed by the state. Second-degree negligent homicide is a class C felony and punishable by five years in prison and $10,000.

Frye is not subject to an extended nor mandatory term of imprisonment, according to the plea agreement by the state.

According to reports, Frye was heading east on Kaumualii Highway in a Ford F150 truck on Dec. 6, 2014. Frye attempted to overtake a Ford Mustang using the shoulder just west of Halfway Bridge when the truck clipped the Mustang’s front end, causing the truck to cross the center lane and broadside a Chevy sedan.

Renti Cruz had to be extricated from his vehicle and was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to reports.

Frye was initially arrested and charged with multiple offenses but released pending investigation.

Bail for Frye was set to $100,000. He is being held at the Kauai Community Correctional Center pending sentencing.


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