Man held on $150,000 bail in crash that killed Hana woman

WAILUKU – A 41-year-old man is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail on a charge of first-degree negligent homicide in connection with a fatal crash in Hana last year.

John Nichols has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Police said he was driving a Jeep Wrangler toward Hana on Hana Highway near Lower Nahiku Road at 3:42 p.m. Jan. 16, 2012, when the vehicle went off the road on the makai side, dropping about 5 feet and overturning. His passenger, 57-year-old Hana resident Camile Ulani Combo, wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle, police said.

She was taken by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The negligent homicide charge alleges that Nichols drove while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Nichols, who is also known as John M. Mooney and Ricky James Johnson, was extradited from Huntington Beach, Calif., to face the charge.

When he was indicted by a Maui County grand jury in June 2012, Nichols’ bail was set at $75,000. The amount was doubled during his arraignment Monday in 2nd Circuit Court.

In court Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas asked that Nichols’ bail be increased to $500,000. “He’s a flight risk and also a danger to this community if he’s driving,” Temas said.

Deputy Public Defender Eugene Evans said Nichols wasn’t required to remain on Maui while the case was being investigated and no charges had been filed. There was no evidence presented that Nichols had left the state after being indicted, Evans said.

Judge Richard Bissen kept bail at $150,000.

A Feb. 10 trial is set for Nichols.