Saturday, June 16, 2001

Witness: Hit-and-run
suspect confessed

By Nelson Daranciang

On his way to the witness stand, Lui Iputi gave his son-in-law a reassuring pat on the shoulder. He then told a judge that his son-in-law confessed to being the driver in a fatal hit-and-run accident.

Iputi testified yesterday in Tiuli Faatoia's preliminary hearing on a charge of failing to render aid. Daniel Agcaoili, 33, of Kalihi was killed in the May 24 crash.

District Judge Tenney Tongg determined that there is enough evidence to support the charge for trial and sent the case to Circuit Court. Faatoia, 39, will be arraigned June 28.

Agcaoili's grandmother and older brother were in court to hear Iputi's testimony.

"At least we were able to hear the father-in-law say that he heard a confession. That's some kind of closure," Lawrence Agcaoili said.

Police said Agcaoili was riding his moped on Kamehameha IV Road when he was struck from behind. Agcaoili died four days later.

Theda Peneda testified that she was traveling on Kamehameha IV Road when she saw a huge vehicle in front of her strike Agcaoili's moped and then speed off.

"I saw the moped turn to the left, the bigger vehicle hit the moped and the moped fly to the right," she said.

Peneda said the other vehicle was about a half a car length behind the moped.

Lawrence Agcaoili feels the accident could have been avoided.

"If the girl could see the moped moving, why couldn't the guy? And why was he following so close?" he said.

According to documents Honolulu police submitted in the case, Faatoia confessed to being the driver in the accident to his wife, her parents and a family friend on May 31. The following day, they escorted him to the Kalihi substation to surrender.

"He didn't turn himself in; the in-laws turned him in," Lawrence Agcaoili said.

Tongg refused Faatoia's request to reduce his bail from $25,000 to $2,500.

Deputy Prosecutor Vince Kanemoto opposed the request, arguing that Faatoia presents a danger to the public.

Faatoia's license was suspended for five years in 1999 because of a DUI conviction. He had two other DUI convictions and had his license suspended or revoked six other times since 1997.

"He told at least one other person that he fled because he was driving without a license," Kanemoto said.

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