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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Hawaii State Seal

Deadly DUI driver
works for House Speaker

Associated Press


A well-known attorney serving at least four years in prison for driving drunk and killing a man in 1995 is now working part-time in the office of state House Speaker Calvin Say (D, Palolo Valley-Kaimuki).

Legislature 2000 Thomas Foley works between four and five hours a day in Say's office and spends his nights at the Laumaka Work Furlough Center in Kalihi, Say said yesterday.

"It's a tremendous savings for the taxpayers," said Say, noting he's getting the skills of an experienced attorney for between $1,600 and $1,800 a month. "It was my feeling to utilize the talent of an attorney of his stature and not have it just be wasted."

Foley, 52, is barred from practicing law until May 2002. He now conducts legal research in the areas of taxes and finances -- fields in which he practiced before the accident, Say said.

The arrangement to have Foley work at the Capitol was approved by prison officials, the Hawaii Paroling Authority, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the victims' family, Say said.

Say said he got to know Foley years ago when he testified regularly at the Legislature for various business organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

Foley was legally drunk when his speeding BMW sedan crashed into the rear of a car stopped at a light, killing 33-year-old Ho Pin Tsai and seriously injuring his 36-year-old wife.

Foley's blood-alcohol content after the crash was nearly three times the legal limit. He had been arrested twice before for alleged drunken driving.

Foley pleaded no contest to first-degree negligent homicide and negligent injury. He originally was sentenced to at least six years in prison but that was reduced to four years in 1999.

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