Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Lahaina man gets
10 years in cop’s death

By Gary Kubota

WAILUKU >> A Lahaina man was sentenced this morning to 10 years in prison for the death of a retired police detective who was struck last year while directing traffic on a road-widening project near Maalaea.

Bruce Mauvais, 57, a carpenter, asked for probation, pleading that he is a single parent who cares for a 13-year-old daughter.

But Maui Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto handed down the maximum term for the first-degree negligent homicide charge. He called Mauvais "a loaded gun traveling down the highway."

Police alleged Mauvais was speeding and drunk when he struck Antonio Funes, 54, of Wailuku, on Honoapiilani Highway near the North Kihei Road junction shortly before 2:50 a.m. on June 14. Funes died three hours later at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Police said Funes was wearing high-visibility clothing, white gloves and using a flashing light.

Deputy prosecutor Jeffrey Keating said Mauvais' blood-alcohol level was 0.184, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. Keating said Mauvais had been bar hopping and spent $2,800 in six hours at three hostess bars.

Mauvais was driving 47 miles an hour in a 25-mph-zone and there was no intent to prevent the collision, Keating said.

Mauvais initially was charged with manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The charge was reduced to first-degree negligent homicide, which carries a 10-year maximum sentence and a $25,000 fine. Mauvais pleaded no contest to the lesser charge on Jan. 27.

Funes was a 22-year veteran of the Maui Police Department and retired in 1997. His family has filed a civil lawsuit against Mauvais, three contractors on the highway project, and two bars that allegedly served him alcohol before the crash.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Mauvais, Grace Pacific Construction, Sun Systems, Dillingham Construction Pacific Ltd., Niki's Lounge and Gardenia Lounge.

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