Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Police sergeant
was drunk when
he rammed truck

He loses his license and is
on desk duty during
an HPD inquiry

By Nelson Daranciang

Off-duty Honolulu police Sgt. Kelvin Dow had a blood-alcohol level of 0.180 nearly four hours after he was involved in a traffic accident in Waipio May 17. Hawaii's legal limit for blood alcohol is 0.08.

Fellow Pearl City patrol officers arrested the 20-year police veteran for driving under the influence of alcohol, then released him after he posted $500 bail.

Dow, 40, also had his Hawaii driver's license revoked for three months. An HPD spokeswoman said Dow has been placed on desk duty until the investigation and judicial proceedings are finished.

According to the police accident report, Dow was traveling Wahiawa-bound on Kamehameha Highway just before 2:30 p.m. when the car he was driving rammed into the rear of a pickup truck stopped for a traffic light at the Waipio Uka Street intersection.

The impact caused the truck to slam into the rear of a sedan in front of it.

A woman passenger in the sedan complained of neck pain and was taken by ambulance to St. Francis Medical Center-West in good condition. The woman driver of the truck complained of back pain but refused treatment.

One of the police officers on the scene suspected Dow had been drinking before the crash.

"As we spoke I could detect a strong odor of an intoxicating liquor on his breath. I noticed his speech was slurred but was unable to determine if it was because of something that he had in his mouth," Sgt. Sini Salanoa said.

Police officer Wilson Atud arrived later. "I noticed an odor of alcohol emanating from Dow's breath, and his eyes were glassy," Atud said.

Dow agreed to take a field sobriety test but failed, said Salanoa.

He "kept saying, 'One more time, I can do this,' but kept failing," Salanoa said.

Dow told Salanoa that he was taking medication for his inability to sleep and for an ulcer, high blood pressure and allergies, according to a police report. And he suggested that he was unable to pass the sobriety test because his right knee was injured, the report said.

Dow can request an administrative hearing to contest his license revocation but has not done so. However, he has written to the Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office asking for a reconsideration of its action "due to extenuating circumstances."

He wrote that he had been suffering from the flu and sleep deprivation. Prior to the accident, he said, he had three drinks with his lunch in a Pearl City restaurant. "I didn't think much of it -- I only had a 10-minute drive. Normally I would not have been so quickly affected," Dow wrote. He said he had been getting about two hours of sleep per night for a week and a half.

Dow was forced to relinquish his driver's license and was given a 30-day permit. The license revocation takes effect after the permit expires.

He is scheduled to appear in Ewa District Court to face the DUI charge on June 19.

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