No contest plea in fatal DUI accident

The man who was driving when a woman was killed nearly three years ago pleaded no contest to negligent homicide Tuesday.

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The man who was driving when a woman was killed nearly three years ago pleaded no contest to negligent homicide Tuesday.

Randall Kawasaki, 37, of Kailua-Kona also was charged with manslaughter, two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was driving when the car went off the road at 1:15 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013. The accident killed Hannah Fergerstrom, his girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat.

Sentencing will be March 1.

The plea agreement drops all charges except negligent homicide. However, the prosecution, represented by Kimberly Bryn Mari Taniyama, is allowed to refer to the dropped charges in its argument for sentencing.

Newly sworn-in Circuit Court Judge Melvin Fujino, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, will decide if Kawasaki goes to prison or gets probation based on information presented March 1.

Kawasaki faces up to 10 years in prison or five years probation with 18 months in jail. Both possibilities carry up to $25,000 in fines. In either instance, community service and other penalties also could be added.

Sentencing is expected to include testimony by Fergerstrom’s mother and brother.

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Kawasaki originally was to be sentenced Tuesday, but a presentence investigation was ordered, which will require time to prepare.

Email Graham Milldrum at gmilldrum@westhawaiitoday.com.

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