POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 15, 2012 StarAdvertiser.com
By Gregg K. Kakesako
Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL The attorney for a 20-year-old Australian tourist accused of negligent homicide in the Keehi Lagoon watercraft crash that killed a California teen will try for a third time to have the $100,000 bail of Tyson Dagley reduced.
Dagley, a Brisbane carpet cleaner, remains in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center, unable to post bail.
Dagley is charged with third-degree negligent homicide by causing the death of Kristen Fonseca of Vacaville, Calif., when his rented personal watercraft ran into Fonseca’s watercraft Aug. 5. Third-degree negligent homicide is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a
$1,000 fine. Dagley was charged under a state negligent-homicide law that was changed this year to include watercraft as vehicles.
At a Honolulu District Court appearance Tuesday, Walter Rodby, Dagley’s attorney, requested a jury trial. District Judge Leslie Hayashi scheduled an Aug. 23 hearing in Circuit Court in which Dagley will enter a plea and be assigned a trial judge.
Rodby made a second request that Hayashi reduce Dagley’s bail to $2,000 or allow him to be released on his own
recognizance. Rodby said Dagley can’t flee because police seized his passport when he was arrested last week and that “he has never been in trouble before.”
In opposing the bail reduction request, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sweetman said nothing is known about Dagley and that circumstances have not changed since the high bail was set Friday. Hayashi said Dagley can take up the matter with his Circuit Court trial judge. After the hearing, Rodby told reporters that bail for a misdemeanor is generally set at $2,000. “The idea that he (Dagley) is a flight risk is ridiculous,” Rodby added. “This was an accident.” Rodby described Dagley’s situation as “a nightmare.” Rodby said Dagley and his girlfriend, Natasha Ryan, saved up for two years for a trip to Hawaii.
“He’s depressed,” Rodby added. “He came for a vacation, and now he is locked up in OCCC.” During the discussion in court about the bail reduction, Hayashi asked whether Dagley had anything to say. “I am not going anywhere. I am going to stay here as long as you need me,” he replied.
But Sweetman told reporters after the hearing that besides knowing nothing about Dagley’s background, “a girl’s life was taken.”
Sweetman said the high bail is “to ensure his presence at trial.” During Tuesday’s court proceeding, Dagley, still wearing a neck brace, broke down crying and covered his face with his hands.
“I pray for family to be strong,” Dagley said in an emotional speech that at times was difficult to hear. Dagley told Hayashi that he has never been in trouble before. Dagley’s parents sat in the second row of the seventh-floor courtroom and sobbed during their son’s testimony. After the hearing Dagley’s father, Alan, told reporters it was the first time they had seen their son in four days. “We will stay strong for him,” Alan Dagley added. “He’s a great kid … bighearted.” On Monday, attorney Richard Fried filed a wrongful-death suit against Dagley and rental firm Aloha Jet Ski Rentals
on behalf of Fonseca’s family.
Fried also called on city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to refile the case as a Class C felony – a second-degree negligent homicide. That would increase the maximum penalty to five years in prison, rather than one, Fried said. Fonseca’s parents, Mario and Evangelina Canton, also sent a letter to Hayashi on Monday saying Dagley’s crime
should be reclassified as a felony negligent-homicide case. Kaneshiro declined comment on Fried’s statements.Fried said Dagley’s action is “more than simple negligence.” Fried also faulted Glenn Cohen, owner of Aloha Jet Ski Rentals, for failing to give any instructions or warning about speeding.
Fonseca’s attorney also said Cohen “did nothing to stop defendant Tyson Dagley from seriously endangering others in this way, and instead ignored the danger.” Calls to Aloha Jet Ski Rentals for comment were not returned. Investigators say that on Aug. 5, Dagley was standing on his rented watercraft before it hit Fonseca’s. Police said
Dagley was showing off for Ryan and not paying attention when his rented Yamaha WaveRunner smashed into the back of Fonseca’s Yamaha on an Aloha Jet Ski Rentals course in Keehi Lagoon. Fonseca died the following day from head injuries.
Ryan, 21, was charged Friday with hindering prosecution for allegedly deleting a video showing the crash and the
moments before the crash. She is free on $500 bail. Ryan, also from Brisbane, is expected to enter a plea at her arraignment in District Court on Sept. 7. There were no restrictions on her bail, and she retained her Australian passport. Hindering prosecution is also a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
Fried said he briefed Fonseca’s parents after Dagley’s hearing and that they were pleased that his bail was not reduced.
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