Wife says spat, not man, led to crash


POSTED: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lise Solomua-Alatini said she had been smoking a cigarette, drinking, speeding, cutting through lanes of traffic and arguing with her husband when the sport utility vehicle she was driving crashed on the H-1 viaduct last year, severing her left arm.


;[Preview]    Woman Testifies At Husband's Trial

lovani Alatini is on trial for 2nd degree assault for causing the crash in which his wife lost her arm.


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  She said her husband did kick the steering wheel but that did not cause the crash. She said she lost control of the SUV when she took her eyes off the road to hit her husband and swear at him.


Her husband, Iovani Alatini, 33, is on trial in state court for second-degree assault, accused of causing the July 18, 2007, crash.

Solomua-Alatini, 30, testified in defense of her husband yesterday, saying police and prosecutors never heard her version of what happened until yesterday, “;because you guys made my husband look like a bad person.”;

“;You guys already predicted what happened, instead of asking me when I was ready to, when I was strong enough to,”; she said.

Honolulu Police Department Detective Gary Lahens taped an interview with Solomua-Alatini just hours after the crash. The tape was played for the jury yesterday.

The interview lasted a minute. Lahens asked Solomua-Alatini whether she remembered telling a paramedic that her husband kicked the steering wheel. She said she didn't.

Solomua-Alatini said she was heavily sedated at the time.

She said she and her husband were arguing as they headed home from a picnic at Magic Island. She said she was upset because her husband ignored her during the picnic.

She testified that she took two bottles of beer with her when they left the picnic and was drinking one of them while driving.

Alatini's lawyer Marcus Landsberg said Solomua-Alatini's blood-alcohol level was 0.15, qualifying her as a highly intoxicated driver under state law.

During the argument Solomua-Alatini said her husband yelled at her to slow down but she didn't listen. She said she also ignored his request for her to stop and let him out.

She said her husband kicked the in-dash DVD player, his foot slipped and hit her hand on the steering wheel. She said that caused the SUV to swerve but she was able to regain control of the vehicle, turn her attention to her husband, yell at him and punch him repeatedly.

When her husband told her to look out, the SUV was headed toward the concrete median. She said she hit the brakes, turned the wheel and closed her eyes.

Sgt. John Agno, of HPD's Traffic Division, said skid marks on the roadway indicate that the driver braked and turned the wheel before crashing the vehicle into the barrier.

In another taped interview played for the jury, Alatini said he kicked the steering wheel because he was “;just so upset.”; And he forgot that he and his wife were on the freeway.