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College student arraigned on manslaughter charge

February 5, 2004

Boylan Peter Staff Advertiser PM

April 5 trial set for driver involved in 2001 fatal crash By Peter Boylan, ADVERTISER STAFF WRITER A 21-year-old man involved in a fatal traffic collision in 2001 pleaded not guilty in Circuit Court today on a manslaughter charge. His trial was set for April 5. Nicholas Tudisco is free on $100,000 bail and will be allowed to return to California, where he is enrolled in college. City prosecutors have said Tudisco was racing at more than 100 mph on the H-1 on Aug. 26, 2001, when he lost control of his car, struck the center barrier and crashed into a van in which Holy Trinity School teacher Elizabeth Kekoa was riding. She was killed. Tudisco has surrendered both his California and Hawai`i driver's licenses. "It's a sad situation all around," said Tudisco's attorney Michael Green. "We have a young man and you look at the attention he's getting, it's tough stuff." Green said he is not convinced that it was Tudisco's vehicle that caused Kekoa's death. "If they (the prosecution) took 21/2 years (to indict) then we should have at least a year to sift through what they found," Green said. Tudisco will fly back to the Mainland tonight with his father, Michael. A year after the accident, the Tudisco family moved to the Washington, D.C., area. If convicted of manslaughter, Tudisco could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Kevin Takata, the division director for trials in the Prosecutor's Office, will prosecute the case. Tudisco is a junior at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, majoring in business. Larry Lee, the school's baseball coach, confirmed that the junior-college transfer, a reserve outfielder, has been suspended indefinitely from playing. Tudisco and his parents, Michael and Cynthia Tudisco, are named in a civil suit filed in March 2002 on behalf of Kekoa's husband by attorney Wayne Kekina. Tudisco's parents are included in the suit because the car was registered to them, they knew it had been modified to go faster, and they were aware of their son's convictions for speeding in 1999 and 2000, said Kekina. Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadverti ser.com or 535-8110 .Attorney Michael Green, foreground, and his client Nicholas Tudisco were in Circuit Court today for Tudisco's arraignment. Trial has been set for April 5