Man gets six months in jail for assault over Wailuku parking spot

WAILUKU — For an assault in a Wailuku parking lot that left a man with “catastrophic injuries,” a Waiehu man was sentenced to a six-month jail term.

Chance Hue, 32, also was ordered to pay $8,646 in restitution as part of four years’ probation in his sentencing Aug. 3.

“This was a fight over a parking stall,” said Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Teshima. “There may have been some provocation but no justification.

“It was the defendant and his mom who stopped and started the encounter in the first place. They could have gone on with their business.”

Hue had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree assault in the Nov. 3 incident in the parking lot of Walgreens at 700 Waiale Road.

Based on witness statements and security video footage, Hue and his mother were in a car that appeared to be leaving when Stephen West and his wife drove in and parked in a handicapped stall, Teshima said.

Hue was reversing when his car stopped and someone appeared to say something to West, who turned and walked toward the Hues’ car.

“We don’t know what is said because we can’t hear the security footage,” Teshima said.

But he said Hue’s mother reported that she told West he couldn’t park there because he didn’t have a placard to park in a handicapped space. She said West responded with profanities, which angered her son.

In the security video, West can be seen gesturing before Hue gets out of the car, Teshima said. Hue’s mother also gets out of the car.

During an argument between West and Hue, “the video shows that Chance was acting aggressively toward Mr. West,” Teshima said.

He said Hue’s mother is seen trying to keep Hue away by pushing him.

While West is facing Hue, “he’s remaining calm, his hands are at his side,” Teshima said.

Hue and his mother return to their vehicle, and West turns and starts to walk into the store.

Then West turns around and walks back out of the store entrance.

“His hands are in his pocket,” Teshima said. “Something is obviously done or said. Chance jumps out of his car, rushes up to Mr. West and swings his fist wildly.

“Mr. West hardly has time to get his hands out of his pocket before he goes down.”

West cracked his head against the concrete, suffering a skull fracture, brain hemorrhaging, blood clots, kidney failure and hearing loss, Teshima said.

Speaking in court, West said he can barely hear in his left ear and has permanent ringing in both ears.

“I’m back to work, thank God, and trying to do my job the best I can,” he said.

“I’m just concerned about my well-being moving forward. It really was a senseless act of violence.”

Teshima said it’s clear from the video that West didn’t hit Hue’s mother, as Hue said.

But defense attorney Cary Virtue said the security video “only gives partial views of what happened.”

He said West “went off” on Hue’s mother.

“He was profane,” Virtue said. “He also hit his mother in the back of the head. When that happened, Chance snapped and he went around to protect his mother and they got into a fight.

“Yes, Chance did hit him.”

Hue put his arms around West’s head and set West on the ground in a sitting position, Virtue said.

He said West “threw his head back and his head hit the back of the store wall.”

“It was injuries to himself,” Virtue said. “Chance did not do this to this man.

“Chance does have a good heart. He truly loves his mother and when another man is attacking his mother, he’s going to come to his mother’s defense.

“In the heat of the moment, Chance did what he did. He’s sorry for it.”

In court, Hue said: “If I could take it back, I would take it back. I accept whatever the court’s going to give me.”

While Hue asked to be spared a jail term so he could continue working, the prosecution sought the six-month jail term.

Teshima said the charge against Hue was reduced because the prosecution didn’t believe Hue intended to or knew he was going to cause such injuries to West. But the prosecution could prove Hue was reckless in causing the injuries, Teshima said.

In sentencing Hue, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill followed the plea agreement between the defense and prosecution.

“Clearly, Mr. West has suffered devastating, catastrophic injuries,” Cahill said. “They’re not going away. There’s no question about that.”

Had the case gone to trial, the prosecution would have had the burden of proving guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, Cahill said.

“The facts in this case are significantly in dispute,” he said. “There’s no question about it.

“This was a bizarre circumstance. It’s a strange circumstance.”

Cahill said he took into consideration “the gravity of the injuries” and the fact that Hue had pleaded no contest to second-degree assault.

“At some point during the altercation, somebody needed to walk away and neither party did,” the judge told Hue. “You didn’t and the injuries occurred.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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