Hearing in fatal crash pushed back

  • Contributed photo

    Cody Safadago

LIHUE — A head cold postponed legal proceedings in a fatal crash case on Friday, but both Cody Safadago and Judge Randal Valenciano are taking advantage of the extra time to examine evidence.

The hearing has been postponed until Jan. 19 at 8 a.m., and Valenciano said he’d take the time to view video evidence, at least one clip of which is 40 minutes long.

Safadago’s attorney, Melinda Mendez, told the court via phone that she’ll be meeting with her client at the Kauai Community Correctional Center to view the footage.

“I’ve been unable to view the videos with my client because of my illness,” Mendes said to the court as she requested a continuance.

Safadago pleaded not guilty in May to nine charges involving an April 27 hit-and-run resulting in the death of 19-year-old Kayla Huddy-Lemn of Kapaa.

According to reports, Huddy-Lemn was heading north on Kuhio near the Courtyards at Waipouli about 10:45 p.m. when an oncoming Nissan pickup truck crossed the center line and struck her Mazda sedan.

Police said the Nissan was stolen from a home on Makaha Road in Kapaa moments before.

Kauai Police Department identified Safadago as the driver of the truck that crossed the centerline at 88 miles per hour.

Following the crash, Safadago fled on foot and was later located by police near the Wailua Shopping Plaza. He was apprehended following a brief struggle and taken to Wilcox Medical Center for medical evaluation.

Safadago is facing four felony charges including negligent homicide and being in an accident involving death/serious injury, two misdemeanor charges including driving without a license, and three petty misdemeanor charges.

In the nine months since the April crash, Safadago has undergone mental health examinations and has been declared fit to stand trial. He switched court-appointed counsel once, from John Murphy to Melinda Mendes, in August 2017.

During Friday’s 10-minute hearing, Safadago only spoke once, asking the court and Mendes when his attorney will next meet with him.

“I’m coming to see him on Tuesday,” Mendes said.

Safadago is originally from Washington state, and was living in Kalalau Valley for a time before the crash.

The jury trial is set for Feb. 12, with Valenciano presiding.

Friday’s hearing was regarding several motions from the defendant:

w To dismiss the grand jury indictment due to misleading testimony, and/or failure to present clearly exculpatory evidence;

w To suppress all evidence and statements based upon lack of probable cause to arrest defendant;

w To suppress defendant’s statements;

w To suppress evidence seized pursuant to search warrants, based upon a lack of probable cause;

w To strike extended term language from the indictment, based upon improper questioning by the state.

3 Comments
  1. Uncleaina January 6, 2018 11:14 am Reply

    This guy was wanted by US Marshals (that’s why he was hiding in kalalau) ; he’s claiming no evidence against him despite the fact you can see he’s wasted and beat up from the crash. Please make sure he gets a fair trial, quickly, then send him to prison for a long long time.


  2. deeduden January 8, 2018 10:31 pm Reply

    I can’t believe the idiot claims not guilty. We live at the apartments and heard the terrific crash. Then we ran and watched as the fire dept tried desperately to get her out of the mangled car. What a shame and useless lose of life. The family needs to heal. He deserves to get the maximum sentence possible to keep him off the streets as he has no care in the world for what he has done.


  3. deeduden January 8, 2018 10:47 pm Reply

    I know it’s the job of a lawyer to defend but to plea not guilty is ludicrous, can’t they see the guilt admit it ask the jury for proper justice? I mean really, not guilty, did the stolen truck just do 88 mph by itself and cross a lane to violently smash into a oncoming vehicle?


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