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Tuesday, March 25, 2003



Canadian official fined
for driving drunk on Maui


By Gary T. Kubota
gkubota@starbulletin.com

LAHAINA >> After drinking three martinis and some wine, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell drove erratically on Maui, speeding and nearly crossing into a lane toward another vehicle.

Campbell pleaded no contest yesterday to drunken driving and three other offenses.

As a first-time offender, Campbell was fined $500 for the petty misdemeanor of driving under the influence of alcohol. He also was ordered to pay $50 for failure to drive on the right side of the road, $50 for disregarding lane markings and $125 for speeding, going 70 mph in a 45-mph zone.

Campbell, who has publicly apologized for his behavior, did not appear in court, but was represented by Honolulu attorneys Steven Barta and Philip Lowenthal.

District Judge Reinette Cooper did not require Campbell to undergo 14 hours of alcohol abuse counseling and a substance abuse assessment, since he fulfilled the requirements before his court hearing.

Cooper said based on an assessment, she was satisfied Campbell required no further counseling.

"I do not believe there are aggravating circumstances," Cooper said.

She said she felt Campbell had been sufficiently embarrassed in the public, "as well he should be."

Barta said Campbell immediately accepted responsibility and has accepted a harsher penalty than usual.

Barta said usually, first-time drunken-driving offenders have lesser offenses dismissed, but Campbell decided to plead no contest to all of them.

Barta said Campbell's license was suspended for 90 days in Hawaii immediately after he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and that Campbell has continued to observe the suspension while in Canada.

Campbell, 55, was arrested on the early morning of Jan. 10 on the two-lane Honoapiilani Highway near the Napilihau residential subdivision in West Maui while driving a rental car toward Kaanapali.

He has told the news media that he had three martinis and some wine while dining with friends Fred Latremouille and Kathy Baldazzi during his annual vacation on Maui and was returning to a place where he was staying.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds said that about 12:55 a.m. a police officer stopped next to Campbell at a traffic light, and when the light changed, Campbell sped his vehicle forward.

The police officer said Campbell crossed the double solid line to his left, then pulled to his right crossing into the bicycle lane, Simonds said.

Campbell's driving was erratic, sometimes hitting his brakes, and he almost crossed into a lane that had a motor vehicle going in the opposite direction, he said.

Simonds said when the police officer stopped Campbell, he had a strong odor of liquor, an oily face and slurred speech.

When asked why he was speeding, Campbell said he was tired and wanted to return home, Simonds said.

Campbell was recorded to have 0.161 percent blood-alcohol in a field sobriety test and was tested at the police station in Wailuku to have an official blood-alcohol of 0.149 percent, well above the state limit of 0.08 percent, Simonds said.

Nonresidents arrested for drunken driving are subject to the same procedures and penalties as Hawaii residents arrested on the petty misdemeanor charge and can arrange to enter a no-contest or guilty plea by mail without being present, usually through an attorney licensed to practice in Hawaii.



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