Fatal crash suspect gets year in jail


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A Honokaa man suspected of causing a Sept. 10 traffic crash in Hamakua that killed two people and injured five others has been re-sentenced for violating his probation on an unrelated road rage case.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura on Monday sentenced 30-year-old Alfred Berdon III to a year in jail and re-started the clock on his five-year probation for a 2007 road rage assault. That felony assault caused the victim, Dayne Victorino, to lose an eye.

“I just wanna say that I screwed up with my probation, but I just wanna say I’m sorry,” Berdon told the court. “If I’m given the opportunity to do it (probation) again, I’ll do it. I’ve got four kids of my own.”

Nakamura ordered Berdon to report Monday, Dec. 10, for incarceration. He was given a week to allow him to tie up loose ends with his employer and family.

Berdon is free on $20,000 bail.

Berdon violated his probation with a November 2011 arrest for DUI. He was convicted on Aug. 7, but failed to have an ignition interlock device installed on his car by Aug. 14 as ordered and didn’t show up for a proof of compliance hearing on Sept. 4, according to court records.

In an unrelated incident, police say that Berdon was driving a pickup truck east on Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 19) near Kalopa on the afternoon of Sept. 10 and attempted to pass a van carrying eight landscapers for Puna Certified Nursery, but instead ran the van off the road and into an embankment in Kalopa Gulch.

The collision killed 61-year-old Josefina Visaya and 54-year-old Patrocinia Cadang, both of Keaau. Three women, all 46 and from Keaau, were critically injured but survived: Marilyn Bagaoisan, Marilyn Chavez and Maria Macadangdang. Three others were treated for minor injuries and released: 23-year-old Gina Visaya of Keaau, the niece of Josefina Visaya; 23-year-old J.R. Soriano of Keaau; and 45-year-old Efren Chavez, the van’s driver and Marilyn Chavez’s husband.

The van’s occupants were returning home from a landscaping job in Waikoloa.

Police say Berdon was intoxicated and speeding when the crash occurred, but he wasn’t hurt in the collision, and a 7-year-old boy in the pickup truck was not seriously injured.

Berdon was arrested on suspicion of two counts of negligent homicide, four counts of negligent injury, DUI and driving with a suspended license and without insurance. He was later released pending investigation of those charges.

Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville, who has since retired, said in September that Berdon was released from custody because prosecutors are still awaiting toxicology results of a mandatory blood sample taken after the collision. He said that Berdon tested positive in a urine test for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller marketed as Oxycontin. He said the blood tests have to be done because urinalysis sometimes produces false positive results.

Police are bound by law to free suspects who are not charged within 48 hours of arrest. Deputy Prosecutor Shannon Kagawa said Monday that police have not concluded their investigation of the fatal collision. Berdon cannot be charged with offenses related to the deadly crash until the probe is completed and forwarded to prosecutors.

In addition to the assault and DUI convictions, court records show that Berdon has been convicted of speeding five times since December 2000, most recently on June 25, 2010.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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