Spat over kids caused crash, court told
Iovani and Lesia Alatini were headed home from a barbecue at Magic Island last week when they began arguing over his not spending more quality time with the kids.
With Lesia Alatini driving, they approached the H-1 freeway viaduct headed west near the airport when Iovani Alatini apparently "all of a sudden got really mad and kicked the steering wheel of the vehicle," Honolulu police Detective Gary Lahens testified yesterday.
Iovani Alatini, 32, appeared at Honolulu District Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing. He is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly causing the July 18 crash that injured his wife, 28, severing her arm.
District Judge Faye Koyanagi found there was sufficient probable cause to try him on the charge and bound the case over to Circuit Court.
During an interview after the crash, Lahens said Alatini told him he and his wife had been drinking at the barbecue with co-workers at Magic Island before heading home. She began complaining about his not spending enough time with the children.
He told Lahens that he became so upset during the argument that he forgot they were in the car. He cried during the interview when he told Lahens that his wife's arm was severed, Lahens said.
Throughout the proceedings in District Court yesterday, Alatini sat with his head bowed and wept silently.
Lesia Alatini was also interviewed in the hospital a couple of days after the crash, and she acknowledged that she was drinking at the barbecue, Lahens said.
During questioning by Deputy Public Defender Marcus Landsberg, Lahens said she did not say when she stopped drinking.
Lahens also said Alatini told him they were speeding before the crash but that his wife was driving.
Hawaii County firefighter Gabriel Sasaki, who is undergoing paramedic training in Honolulu, testified that he and his partner arrived at the scene to find the sport utility vehicle resting on its left side and a woman still inside.
A man, later identified as her husband, was standing outside the SUV calling out "Boo" several times, Sasaki said. "I'm assuming he was addressing her."
Sasaki said he asked the man if he was hurt, but the man appeared more concerned with the woman inside the car. "He wanted us to check on the female," Sasaki testified.
Through the windshield, the woman appeared to be awake and breathing, he said.
Sasaki said he entered the car through the back windshield and began asking her questions and assessing her.
Her left arm had been completely severed in the upper humerus area. "It wasn't a very clean type of cut," he said.
Despite her injury, she was still awake and was able to tell him that her husband had kicked the steering wheel and that the car had rolled over at least once, Sasaki testified.
She remained conscious as Sasaki prepared her for transport. Based on his experience, her condition was "serious," he said.
Despite the state's request that Iovani Alatini be ordered to stay away from his wife, the court declined after a woman identifying herself as Lesia Alatini's mother said her daughter has been asking to see her husband as recently as yesterday.
Lesia Alatini also told the police detective that she does not want any protective orders that would prevent her husband from seeing her.
Iovani Alatini will be arraigned in Circuit Court on Aug. 6.