LIHUE » A retired car dealer’s medical ailment is delaying his sentencing for a Kauai dam breach that swept seven people to their deaths in 2006.
James Pflueger told the Garden Island newspaper a leg condition is preventing him from traveling from Honolulu to Kauai for the sentencing, which was scheduled for next week.
Attorney William McCorriston said sentencing for his client has been rescheduled for April.
The 87-year-old Pflueger pleaded no contest last year to first-degree reckless endangerment for his role in the Ka Loko Dam break on his property. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop seven manslaughter counts. His company, Pacific 808 Properties, pleaded no contest to seven counts of manslaughter. The company will pay a $350,000 fine that will go toward a dam inspection and safety program.
The plea agreement calls for five years’ probation. At the sentencing, prosecutors can argue for additional conditions, such as community service, a fine and up to a year imprisonment, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Pflueger said he can’t fly for six weeks. "Every day is a good day when I wake up and I’m this old," he said, calling himself "worn out."
Bruce Fehring’s daughter, son-in-law and 2-year-old grandson were among those who died. Fehring expressed disappointment with the delay.
"I am uncertain what may, or may not, be wrong with Jimmy Pflueger’s health, but, speaking on behalf of myself and my family, although we remain traumatized and broken-hearted, we planned on being at the scheduled sentencing hearing," he said in an email.
One of the accusations against Pflueger was that the spillway — designed to keep water from flowing over the dam — had been covered.