RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kekai Seabury wept yesterday as he and his mother, Harriet, spoke outside Circuit Court. Aadam-Frederick Akiona, who had pleaded no contest to second-degree negligent homicide for causing the death of father and husband Ramus Seabury, was sentenced to a year in jail with probation.
Man sentenced for fatal accident
The victim's family says in court that their pain endures today
Kekai Seabury cradled his father's head just before he died in a Kalanianaole Highway crash in Waimanalo in 2003. He told his father, "I love you."
But the pain doesn't end.
Seabury was upset yesterday that the Windward Oahu man who admitted to causing the crash that killed Seabury's father would not face the family in Circuit Court when he apologized.
"He never look at us and say sorry -- he told the judge," Seabury exclaimed outside the courtroom.
Aadam-Frederick Akiona, 22, was sentenced to a year in jail as part of five years' probation. He contends he fell asleep at the wheel of his pickup truck when he crossed the center line and plowed head-on into Ramus Seabury's truck.
Akiona pleaded no contest in November to second-degree negligent homicide for causing Seabury's death on Feb. 23, 2003. Akiona was facing a maximum five years in prison.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Wilson said Akiona's prior history of speeding -- including a violation just six months prior -- was a significant factor in his decision to impose incarceration. Akiona was also ordered to pay the Seaburys restitution of $6,098 to help with funeral expenses.
"When you received the license to drive, you were given the power to engage in one of the most dangerous activities permitted under the law," Wilson said. "With power comes responsibility, and responsibility has no meaning without accountability."
Wilson concluded, based on the record in this case, that Akiona was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and that results of a blood test showed no alcohol in his system. He also noted that Akiona himself has suffered and shown remorse for his actions that resulted in the death of a much-loved and respected family man.
Seabury, 62, was retired but was headed to a part-time job at the Clipper Golf Course at Marine Corps Base Hawaii when the crash occurred at around 4:30 a.m. near the entrance to Olomana Golf Links. He died of multiple blunt-force injuries.
Deputy Prosecutor Paul Mow argued for the maximum five years' incarceration, saying Akiona, who has three prior speeding violations, was negligent by driving nearly twice the 35 mph speed limit and falling asleep.
And while tests at the hospital indicated no alcohol in his blood, statements from Akiona's passenger, Akiona's admission to hospital staff that he had consumed three beers before the collision, and beer bottles recovered from the crash site suggested otherwise, Mow said.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Aadam-Frederick Akiona hugged his father, Aaron, yesterday after being sentenced to one year in prison for the traffic death of Ramus Seabury.
A motorist who came upon the crash witnessed Akiona's passenger dumping a backpack into the bushes nearby. Police recovered the backpack, which apparently belonged to Akiona, and found six 12-ounce bottles of Heineken -- three still unopened and cold to the touch with condensation on them.
Akiona's attorney, Michael Green, argued for probation, describing him as a "decent young man" who came from a decent, hard-working family.
He stressed that Akiona was not charged with driving while impaired.
"The (Seabury) family should know this wasn't (a case of) driving under the influence, or the state would have charged it," he said.
Akiona and his family faced the Seaburys for the first time since that fatal crash in an emotion-packed hearing that left members of both families in tears.
Harriet Seabury described her husband of 41 years as a hard worker and provider who would take on part-time jobs to provide extras for his family, a father who coached and supported his three sons in all they did, and a brother who helped his siblings and anyone who needed help.
"Most of all, I couldn't have asked for a better husband," she said.
She said she still wakes up at 4:30 a.m., the time of the crash, and cries. "The first two weeks were hard, but you never get over it."
Daniel Kapuniai choked back tears as he described how his brother-in-law's death has affected their family, who are still seeking closure.
"When he died that day, a whole bunch of us died, too," he said.
Akiona and his parents and sister said his actions were not intentional.
"If I had my wish, I wish God had taken my life instead of Mr. Seabury," Akiona said.
Not a day goes by that he does not think about the accident, he said, and it has taught him how responsible he must be behind the wheel.