LIHUE — A Fifth Circuit Court judge found a Kilauea man guilty of negligent homicide and other charges relating to a 2014 fatal traffic crash involving alcohol.
Chief Judge Randal Valenciano told James David Monroe Jr., 53, that he could face an extended term of imprisonment of 32 years if he accepted a plea deal from the state.
A nine-count indictment filed June 12, 2014, charged Monroe with manslaughter, negligent homicide in the first degree, assault in the second degree, negligent injury in the first degree, two counts of assault in the third degree, reckless driving, inattention to driving and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant relating to a 2014 accident that left one person dead and three people injured.
Monroe pleaded no contest to multiple felonies Monday including first-degree negligent homicide, first-degree negligent injury and two counts of assault in the third degree and OVUII. Both assault charges and the OVUII charge are petty misdemeanors.
The state agreed to dismiss with prejudice the charges of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless driving and inattention to driving.
In the plea agreement, the state also agreed not to recommend to run the sentences consecutive, which means that the highest term of imprisonment that Monroe could face is 10 years in jail for the class B felony — first degree negligent homicide. However, the judge is not bound by the plea agreement.
The office of the prosecuting attorney would not comment on the case as it is pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Aug. 11.
On March 4, 2014, Monroe’s northbound Ford pickup truck sideswiped a southbound Jeep SUV on Kuhio Highway, just north of Wailapa Road, according to Kauai police. His truck then crashed head on with Dodge SUV, which caused the Dodge to overturn.
The crash killed Samuel Mitzel, 29, and left Mitzel’s father, Keith Mitzel, in critical condition. He was initially taken to Wilcox but then flown to Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu. The driver of the Jeep, Cathy Farley and her passenger, were also injured, according to reports.