The girlfriend of an Australian tourist convicted of causing the death of a California teenager in a jet ski crash at Keehi Lagoon pleaded no contest today for misleading police in the criminal investigation of the fatal collision.
Natasha Ryan of Brisbane, Australia, was granted a chance to have her case dismissed if she stays out of trouble for six months, but must pay a $1,000 fine.
Ryan was charged with second-degree hindering prosecution, a misdemeanor offense. She faced a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
She was granted a six-month deferral, which means the misdemeanor charge will be removed from her U.S. record if she stays out of trouble for six months. Honolulu District Judge Leslie Hayashi also fined Ryan $1,000 as a condition of her deferral. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scotty Hu objected to the six-month deferral but Hayashi overruled Hu’s objection, according to Ryan’s attorney Walter Rodby, who was in court today to represent her. Ryan did not appear in court.
Rodby submitted a plea by mail to Hayashi from Ryan in November. At that time, Hayashi granted a continuance while Rodby worked out the terms of Ryan’s deferral.
Ryan turned herself in to police on Aug. 11, six days after the fatal Keehi Lagoon accident, and was released after she posted $500 bail.
Kristen Fonseca, 16, of Vacaville, Calif., died from brain injury on Aug. 6, a day after her rented personal watercraft was rammed from behind by one operated by Ryan’s boyfriend, Tyson Dagley, 20.
Ryan had told police that Dagley was traveling at a slow or medium speed before the collision occurred. She also told authorities he was sitting and looking straight ahead before the crash and that she didn’t see the collision or take photos.
A forensic computer expert with the Honolulu Police Department recovered two deleted videos from a memory stick in Ryan’s digital camera. One of the videos showed the collision. It also showed Dagley standing on his rented watercraft.
Dagley pleaded no contest to third-degree homicide in September and was sentenced to 12 days in jail that he had already served. He also was ordered to pay the Fonseca family $78,000 in restitution. Dagley was granted a deferred acceptance of his no-contest plea. The conviction will be removed from his U.S. record if he remains out of trouble for a year.