Woman receives probation in fatality
WAILUKU – With family members of a man killed in a head-on traffic collision saying they didn’t want the other driver jailed, a judge Wednesday ordered five years’ probation for a woman whose rental car crossed a double-solid line before the crash.
Liliana Driever, 29, of Boston had pleaded no contest to second-degree negligent homicide in connection with the Aug. 29, 2010, crash on the Haleakala Highway extension in Kahului.
Police said Driever was driving a 2010 Dodge Caliber that was traveling west when it crossed the centerline and collided with an eastbound 1996 Mercury Tracer in the eastbound lane at 11:26 a.m.
David Dutro, a 75-year-old Pukalani resident who was driving the Mercury, suffered life-threatening injuries and died shortly afterward at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
“You were reckless. You were negligent. You were inattentive. You were careless,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Driever. “All those factors led to the demise of Mr. Dutro.”
He had visited his wife’s grave before the crash occurred, Loo said.
Both the prosecution and defense recommended probation for Driever.
Her attorney, Chris Dunn, said a “10- to 15-second distraction” led to the crash.
He said Driever, who suffered a collapsed lung and several broken ribs, has no memory of the collision or what led to it.
“Was it my client changing the radio station or talking to a passenger or looking at the scenery?” Dunn said.
He said Driever’s cellphone records showed she wasn’t talking on the phone or texting.
“We’re talking about a distraction that any of us who have ever gotten behind the wheel have all fallen victim to,” Dunn said. “Thankfully for the vast majority of us, we have been fortunate enough not to have these tragic circumstances.”
Driever, an honor student in high school and college, had studied physical therapy and massage therapy and was restarting a business, Dunn said.
“But for this negligent sliver of time in her life, she has led a completely law-abiding life,” he said.
Driever said she accepted that she was at fault in the crash.
“I’m deeply sorry for my errors and recognize this accident had a domino effect that rippled through the lives of many people,” she said. “David Dutro and his family are in my thoughts every day – people whose lives are connected forever to me and yet strangers.”
Deputy Prosecutor Kim Whitworth said Maui police officers and then-civilian traffic reconstructionist Robert Vickers did an extensive investigation to determine how the crash occurred.
She said the investigation showed that Driever, in an unfamiliar car, on an unfamiliar road and 22 mph over the speed limit, crossed 4 and a half to 5 feet into the oncoming lane.
“Yes, there were no drugs. Yes, there was no alcohol,” Whitworth said. “It was just pure negligent driving.”
Had Driever been attentive and driving at the speed limit of 30 mph, “this collision would not have occurred,” Whitworth said.
Dutro’s daughter, Corrine Dutro-Ponce, said she was overcome with emotion after her father died.
“I am no longer angry,” she said in court Wednesday. “I am no longer wishing for an eye for an eye.”
To Driever, Dutro-Ponce said, “I forgive you.”
Dutro’s son, Clayton Dutro, said he wasn’t on Maui when his father died.
“I was hurt and sad to hear of Dad’s death,” he said. “Everything changed. I don’t want anybody to lose their freedom. I just want everybody to be at peace.”
Loo said not many families would be as compassionate and forgiving.
The judge said she hoped the sentencing Wednesday would help both Driever and Dutro’s family members go on with their lives.
“Honor his memory by being a good person and always remembering him,” Loo told Driever.
She was ordered to pay $5,173 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.