POSTED: 4:40 p.m. HST, Feb 11, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 1:38 a.m. HST, Feb 12, 2013
A Lihue man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection with the 2011 traffic crash that fatally injured his 14-month-old daughter.
Michael Pagelsdorf, 30, was ordered by Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe on Wednesday to immediately begin serving his sentence. Pagelsdorf earlier pleaded guilty to first-degree negligent momicide.
Pagelsdorf was holding his daughter Kaylie in his lap while driving east on Kaumualii Highway in Lihue on Feb. 20, 2011. In congested, low-speed traffic he hit the vehicle in front of him. His vehicle’s air bag deployed, causing fatal injuries to the toddler.
Pagelsdorf had methamphetamine and marijuana in his blood at the time of the crash and was driving on a suspended license, police said.
“This was a terrible tragedy, and one that was completely avoidable,” Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar said. “Mr. Pagelsdorf made the conscious decision to remove the infant from the child safety seat, and he will have to live with the consequences of that decision for the rest of his life. My hope is that others learn from this mistake and avoid repeating it.”