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Wednesday, October 6, 2004



Driver gets 5 years
in hit-and-run

A Waikiki worker reaches a
plea deal for fleeing the scene


A Circuit Court judge sentenced a driver to five years in prison yesterday for fleeing the scene after hitting and injuring three Japanese tourists in a crosswalk near Ward Avenue in 2002.

Jun Song Cho, 33, a Waikiki hotel waiter, reached a plea agreement in July in the hit-and-run case.

He pleaded no contest to fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in substantial bodily injury and first-degree negligent injury.

Each count is punishable by five years in prison. Agreeing with the plea deal, Judge Karl Sakamoto yesterday sentenced Cho to two five-year terms to be served at the same time.

According to court records, Cho had been a patron at the Dixie Grill BBQ & Crab Shop on Ward just before the Aug. 2, 2002, accident.

He then allegedly got into his Volkswagen and drove along Auahi Street, where he hit three members of the Yoshizawa family as they crossed the street in a marked crosswalk.

Masako Yoshizawa was knocked to the ground and suffered a fractured right arm, which required surgery, and trauma to her head, back and abdomen.

Her husband, Kazuhiko, and 13-year-old daughter, Kurumi, suffered cuts and bruises.

An hour after the accident, Cho surrendered to police and registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.156, almost twice the legal minimum for drunken driving. Cho was not charged in connection with being intoxicated.

"Mr. Cho has taken full responsibility for this," said Victor Bakke, Cho's attorney. "He's been cooperative, he waived trial and he's gone to rehab."

Sakamoto ordered Cho, who is free on $5,000 bail, to report back to court on Jan. 14 to begin serving his term.

A requested delay in beginning his sentence was allowed so that Cho could finish his participation in a civil negligence lawsuit that the Yoshizawa family has filed against Cho and the Dixie Grill.

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