Guilty verdict in drunken driving case

LIHUE — A Princeville woman who police said crashed her red Mazda pickup truck after drinking several beers was found guilty Thursday of alcohol-related charges in the District Court of the Fifth Circuit.

At a bench trial, Fifth Circuit Court District Judge Joe Moss found Michele Claire Lindstedt, 59, guilty of operating a vehicle under an intoxicant and inattention to driving.

Based on evidence put on at trial by the state, Lindstedt crashed her red Mazda pickup truck into a fence post on the access road between Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kapaa Elementary School on March 16, 2015, according to a news release by the office of the prosecuting attorney.

Responding officers smelled alcohol on Lindstedt’s breath and noted that her eyes were bloodshot and that she had trouble keeping her balance. Lindstedt also admitted to drinking several beers shortly before the crash.

Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said “drunk driving cases are some of the most difficult cases to prosecute in our courts.”

“Particularly in a case like this where the breath test couldn’t come into evidence because of last year’s Won decision by the Supreme Court,” he said.

In the State v. Won case, Yong Shik Won on Oahu argued that the breath test given to him by officers violated his Fourth Amendment right, which protects him against unreasonable searches.

The SC agreed and the court said the test could not be used as evidence against him. It was thrown out.

Sentencing for Lindstedt will take place on Sept. 8 in District Court.

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