Drug use by teen driver cited
A 17-year-old driver of a sport utility vehicle that struck and killed two women in Waimanalo Jan. 20 tested positive for cocaine and alcohol at the time, according to court documents.
The SUV struck a Honda Accord so hard that the SUV's back end flew four feet off the ground upon impact, the police affidavit also said.
Tyler Nainoa Duarte, 18 of Waimanalo was arrested and charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree negligent homicide and accident involving death or serious bodily injury. His bail was set at $30,000.
Duarte was driving a Ford Explorer that broadsided and crushed a Honda Accord, pinning inside two cousins -- Michelle Benevedes, 39, and Racquel Akau, 38. The two, both mothers, were pronounced dead at the scene.
A blood test revealed Duarte had 62 nanograms per milliliter of cocaine, and his blood-alcohol level was 0.06 percent, just below the 0.08 percent legal limit, according to a police affidavit.
A Family Court judge granted a waiver of jurisdiction from Family Court to the criminal division of Circuit Court on Tuesday, so Duarte will be tried as an adult. The alleged crimes were committed when Duarte was a minor.
A police officer who witnessed the accident said the SUV apparently lost control. He heard screeching brakes and saw the back of the SUV swaying and white smoke coming from the back tires before it crashed headfirst into the other vehicle on Kalanianaole Highway near Waimanalo Elementary School.
Duarte and a male passenger, also 17, got out of the vehicle and tried to flee. Officers pursued and arrested Duarte. Police identified him by his Kaiser High School identification card.
Police said Duarte smelled of alcohol and that his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. He also told police he knew it was a bad idea to run a red light, and admitted to drinking at a friend's birthday party, the affidavit said.
Duarte told police he feared his father would kill him if he found out he had wrecked his father's Explorer.
He was arrested for failure to render aid and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
The families of the two women sued Duarte and his parents, alleging he was speeding when he negligently crashed his vehicle into the Honda. It also alleges he willfully disregarded others' safety while fleeing police under the influence of alcohol.