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Driver in drunken-driving homicide pleads no contest

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An intoxicated driver who killed a pedestrian in Waikiki pleaded no contest to first-degree negligent homicide yesterday and could get 10 years in prison when sentenced in October.

"I understand what I face," Elwyn Keomaka II said. "I understand what the consequences are."

His lawyer, Howard Luke, said Keomaka, 28, just wanted to take responsibility for what he did.

"It’s as simple as that — and he gave me no option," Luke said.

The state said Keomaka was driving drunk the wrong way on a one-way street in Waikiki on Jan. 18 when his car struck and killed Ray Kanemori, 61, a guest services manager for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts.

Kanemori is survived by his wife and two adult sons.

Deputy City Prosecutor Darrell Wong said Keomaka was traveling 29 mph in a 25 mph zone.

Wong said Kanemori stepped out onto Walina Street from between two cars. Luke said witnesses saw Kanemori look in the direction of anticipated oncoming traffic, not in the direction from which Keomaka’s car approached.

Keomaka’s blood-alcohol content measured 0.12 two hours later. The legal limit is 0.8.

Keomaka has no prior drunken-driving arrests and, except for the fatal crash, appears to have been a responsible citizen, Wong said.

"Anybody can go down the wrong way on a one-way street, but he made the choice after consuming alcohol," Wong said.

Wong said he does not believe Keomaka deserves to go to prison for 10 years. He said he will probably ask the judge to sentence Keomaka to probation, including some time behind bars.

Keomaka said he wanted to reach out to Kenmore’s family "to express my apologies." Luke said he advised Keomaka it would be more appropriate to do so at sentencing.


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