POSTED: 5:52 a.m. HST, Aug 23, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 10:32 a.m. HST, Aug 23, 2012
The 20-year-old Australian carpet layer accused of causing the death of a 16-year-old California girl in a Keehi Lagoon crash pleaded no contest to a negligent homicide charge this morning in Circuit Court.
Tyson Dagley will be sentenced Sept. 5 at 9:30 a.m. by Circuit Judge Richard Perkins. He faces a maximum jail term of one year and $2,000 fine for third-degree negligent homicide. Dagley has been out on $100,000 cash bail since Monday.
Perkins also ordered Dagley to turn in his Australian passport to the court. Dagley told Perkins that he will comply and will be in Hawaii until his September court date.
Police said Dagley, who lives near Brisbane, Australia, wasn’t paying attention when his rented Yamaha Waverunner personal watercraft rammed the back of Fonseca's Waverunner at Keehi Lagoon. Aug. 5. She later died of a brian injury.
Walter Rodby, Dagley’s attorney, asked Perkins to consider giving Dagley the option of a deferred acceptance of a guilty plea, which would mean that the misdemeanor conviction would be taken off his U.S. record if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Perkins also advised Dagley that by entering a “no contest” plea he was waiving the opportunity for a jury trial and since he is not an U.S. citizen he would not be allowed to re-enter the United States.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Bell said he would confer with the parents of Kristen Fonseca before submitting his sentencing recommendation to Perkins.
Dagley told a Australian television station this week that he was "just a 20-year-old on a Jet Ski having fun" when the accident occurred.
"I'd give anything for her to be back," he told a Brisbane television station. "In the end, I'd rather it be me than her."
Fonseca’s parents last week filed a wrong death suit in Circuit Court against Dagley and Aloha Jet Ski which rented personal watercrafts to Fonseca, of Vacaville, Calif., and Dagley.
Investigators say Dagley was standing on his rented Waverunner before it hit Fonseca's watercraft from behind. They say he was looking at his girlfriend, who was taking video and photos, and didn't pay attention to where he was going.
His girlfriend, Natsha Ryan, 21, was arrested and charged with hindering prosecution for allegedly deleting a video showing the crash. She is free on $500 bail. Ryan is expected to enter a plea at her arraignment in District Court Sept. 7. There were no restrictions on her bail and she retained her Australian passport. Hindering prosecution is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.