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Woman charged in deadly Makaha crash appears in court

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Sierra M. Burns, 21, appeared in Circuit Court today in connection with a double fatal hit-and-run in Makaha. She faces charges of two counts of first-degree negligent homicide, two counts of failure to render aid and one count of accidents involving bodily injury.

A 21-year-old woman pleaded not guilty today to negligent homicide and other charges in the double fatal hit-and-run in Makaha.

At an arraignment in Circuit Court this morning, Sierra Burns appeared before Judge Colette Garibaldi on charges of two counts of first-degree negligent homicide, two counts of failure to render aid, and a count related to an accident involving bodily injury.

Her attorney, Victor Bakke, pleaded not guilty to all charges on her behalf. Her trial was set for May.

Garibaldi denied a motion for supervised release, but granted a bail reduction to $500,000 from $750,000.

Family members of hit-and-run victims Daniel Mole and Jonah Ragsdale, and relatives of Burns packed the courtroom gallery during the arraignment.

On the night of Feb. 19, a Volkswagen Passat struck Mole, 23, and Ragsdale, 21, as the two men were repairing a tire on the shoulder of Farrington Highway.

Deputy prosecutor Kelsi Guerra said the driver, whom she identified as Burns, allegedly drank alcohol and smoked marijuana at Yokohama Bay before the crash.

After leaving the bay, Burns failed to see five vehicles parked on the roadside with their hazard lights on as well as three orange cones in the area where Mole and Ragsdale working on the tire, according to Guerra.

Burns allegedly struck them and kept driving, and she didn’t stop to help or call 911, Guerra said during the arraignment.

Ragsdale, of Maili, died at the scene. Mole, of Nanakuli, died while being transported to a hospital.

About a half-hour later, police found the Passat with front-end damage about five miles away on Lahilahi Street in Makaha with Burns in the back seat of the vehicle.

Five days after the fatal hit-and-run, police arrested her on suspicion of negligent homicide after witnesses reported that they observed Burns operating the Passat on Farrington Highway immediately before and after the crash.

At today’s hearing, Bakke described discrepancies involving the driver’s identity, saying that there are witnesses who observed a male jump out of the car with a backpack whom they believed was the driver.

After the hearing, Michelle Yu, spokeswoman of the Honolulu Police Department, said police did not arrest any male suspect in connection with the hit-and run.

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