POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 01, 2012
An Oahu grand jury Wednesday indicted James Dorsey, 21, of Waianae on charges of negligent homicide in the death of Honolulu police officer Eric Fontes, 45, at a traffic stop near Ko Olina Resort last year.
Dorsey admitted that he knew he was falling asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle and even called a friend to help him stay awake, said Vickie Kapp, deputy city prosecutor.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins set bail at $50,000.
Police have said that alcohol use was not involved, but that drugs and speeding may be factors in the crash.
The indictment does not accuse Dorsey of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It also charges Dorsey with negligent injury for the injuries suffered by officer Herman "Sam" Scanlan.
Police said Scanlan had stopped a sport utility vehicle with an expired registration decal in the left westbound lane of Farrington Highway just before the Ko Olina offramp. Four other officers, including Fontes, were on the scene to assist.
They said Dorsey's pickup truck took an improbable path past some of the other officers and their vehicles before hitting Fontes.
Kapp said Dorsey fell asleep at the wheel. His truck drifted from the left lane of the highway onto the grassy shoulder and glanced off the concrete median separating eastbound and westbound traffic. It continued forward, striking Fontes, who was standing between the line of police cars and the concrete median, then hit one of the police vehicles, which in turn struck Scanlan and the SUV that had been pulled over.
Police traffic investigators said Dorsey's pickup hit Fontes in the back.
An ambulance took Fontes in extremely critical condition to Pali Momi Medical Center, where he died.
Scanlan suffered leg and other injuries.