Thursday, September 20, 2001

Driver agrees to
year in jail for fatal
hit and run

The victim's brother says the agreement
was too lenient based on
the suspect's past

By Nelson Daranciang

The defendant in a fatal hit-and-run accident that occurred while his license was suspended for a drunken-driving conviction in a previous case has agreed to spend a year in jail and five years on probation for fleeing the scene of the accident.

Tiuli Faatoia, 39, pleaded no contest last month to failure to render aid and driving without a driver's license in a plea agreement with the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19.

"It sucks," said Lawrence Agcaoili, brother of the victim, 33-year-old Daniel Agcaoili. "Why are they giving him probation again?"

Faatoia went to jail twice before -- 10 days for a 1999 driving-under-the-influence conviction and nine days for a driving-without-a-license conviction that same year. His driver's license was suspended for five years because of the DUI conviction, his third.

Police said Agcaoili was riding a moped on Kamehameha IV Road on May 24 when a vehicle struck him from behind. Agcaoili died from his injuries four days later.

Faatoia turned himself in to police eight days after the accident. He confessed to his wife and her parents to driving the vehicle that struck Agcaoili, according to court documents.

Faatoia could have faced a maximum 10-year prison term and $25,000 fine for failing to render aid. The conviction for driving without a license carries a maximum one-year prison term and $2,000 fine.

The one year in prison and five years' probation was a counteroffer from the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office to a deal suggested by Faatoia in return for his no-contest plea, said Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Flores.

"Based on the review of the report, the office felt that the offer was appropriate," Flores said.

According to state sentencing laws, one year is the longest prison term a court can impose when also imposing probation. And five years is the longest term of probation the court can impose for failure to render aid, which is a Class B felony.

Faatoia has had his license suspended or revoked seven times since 1997 for DUI, driving without a license and driving without no-fault insurance.

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