Aholelei Held Over for Trial; New Bail SetOctober 1, 2013, 7:22 PM HST (Updated October 2, 2013, 10:31 AM)
An emotional Leilani Estates woman today testified that she watched as a black truck went airborne in front of her on the Volcano Highway last Friday before striking and killing a 66-year-old man riding a bicycle on the shoulder.
Charlene Milazzo’s testimony came in a preliminary hearing for Siaiku Lucky Aholelei, the man accused of killing Cenon Tranquilino Visaya of Kea‘au.
Following the hearing, District Court Judge Harry Freitas ruled that there was enough evidence to hold Aholelei over for trial on charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide.
Aholelei’s next court appearance is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Oct. 14 before Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura.
This was the second court appearance this week for the 27-year-old Mountain View man, who was released Monday after posting a $25,000 bond following a hearing that afternoon.
The bail was $250,000 lower than prosecutors had sought, but a paperwork mix-up prevented a judge from affirming the higher amount based on the manslaughter charge.
Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Hashizaki today provided District Court Judge Harry Freitas with the missing probable cause affidavit, and the judge set a new combined bail amount of $275,000 for Aholelei, who was then taken back into custody.
Hashizaki told Freitas that both probable cause documents known as Riverside affidavits had previously been filed in the court system, but for an unknown reason only the one for the negligent homicide charge made it into court on Monday.
Milazzo testified that she was driving home shortly before noon Friday when the collision occurred.
She said that as she approached the Old Volcano Highway entrance into Kea`au in the northbound lane, she saw the bicyclist peddling along the shoulder next to her as well as a black truck approaching from the Hilo direction.
Milazzo said the next thing she saw was the truck leaving the southbound lane of the highway.
“The truck went over the median – he was like flying in front of us,” she said, while fighting back tears. “I saw him run over the man.”
Testifying before her was Nerissa De Lima, who told the court that she had traveled from Hilo to Kea`au near the black truck and another black truck. She said the two vehicles were alternately speeding and switching lanes as they made their way south.
De Lima said when they reached the area past the Keaau traffic light, the truck which she later said Aholelei was driving attempted to pass a vehicle just as the two lanes merged into one.
She said the truck was not able to complete the pass. The truck then veered onto the shoulder and into the grassy median strip, De Lima said, and then “went airborne.”
De Lima said she pulled over and ran, crying, over the median strip and saw the truck in the bushes with Aholelei still inside.
During cross-examination by Aholelei’s Honolulu attorney, Peter Hsieh (pronounced Shay), De Lima said she didn’t see any indications that Aholelei used his brakes during the incident.
Also testifying today was Puna police Officer Donovan Hegarty, who said when he arrived at the scene he observed Aholelei partly inside the truck which had gone about 50 yards into the brush alongside the highway.