LIHUE — The case against the “Jumbo Surfer” came to a close Wednesday, as the court accepted a plea agreement which requested the dismissal of two felony charges and included a change of plea from the defendant.
James “Jimbo” Pellegrine, 44, pleaded no contest to reckless driving of a vehicle and driving without a license — both petty misdemeanors — and was found guilty. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with combined fees to $94. However, given time already served, Pellegrine is a free man, said Judge Kathleen Watanabe.
“Mr. Pellegrine, I’m glad to see closure to this case,” Watanabe said. “I will, in fact, honor the plea agreement.”
Following an accident that severed his arm along Kuhio Highway on Dec. 19, 2014, Pellegrine allegedly threatened the lives of two ambulance workers during a transport trip from Hanalei police substation to Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
According to court documents, Pellegrine continued with cursing and abrasive language at Wilcox hospital, but hospital staff declined to file a complaint.
As part of the plea agreement, Pellegrine was acquitted of two felony counts of terroristic threatening — a class C felony — in the first degree after two out of three doctors concluded that his volitional and cognitive controls were impaired with the loss of his arm, said Michael Soong, Pellegrine’s attorney.
“Because of the reports, we were able to resolve the case,” Soong said. “I think it was a fair resolution to the case.”
Pellegrine is considered one of the world’s top “Jumbo” surfers.
With the end of the case, Soong says, Pellegrine can now move on to future endeavors and opportunities outside the state.
“It lets him get back to his life,” Soong said. “He’s basically here with no support system, no money, no job.”
Pellegrine will need to pay the total fines by May 25, according to the court’s ruling.
For reckless driving, Pellegrine must pay a $7 driver’s education fee, a $30 crime victim compensation fee, a $10 trauma fund and $10 to the Safe Routes for School fund. As for driving without a license, Pellegrine must pay a $7 driver’s education fee and a $30 crime victim compensation fee.