State lawmakers advanced a measure today that would allow judges to prohibit drunk drivers from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for three years after their conviction.
The hearing for House Bill 703 by the House Judiciary Committee follows a tragic traffic crash in Kakaako last month that left three dead and five seriously injured. The wife of William Travis Lau, a 39-year-old Honolulu doctor who was killed in the crash, testified in favor of the bill.
“My husband along with those other victims were not doing anything wrong, they were in the right place,” said Melissa Lau, who is a nurse at Straub Medical Center, through tears. “My husband was just out there enjoying himself, exercising, and this senseless thing is what took him away from the world, took him away from me. I feel that hopefully this bill is going to be a step in the right direction to helping to prevent things like this from happening again, people like this being on the road, people like this being out there, being able to hurt other people, kill people. It should have never happened.”
Alins Sumang, the 27-year-old driver responsible for the crash, had a strong odor of alcohol on him and a half-empty bottle of Absolut Vodka on the floorboard of his Ford F-150 pickup at the time of the crash, according to police. His blood alcohol level has not been made public.
Just before the deadly crash, Sumang had slammed into parked cars several blocks away and was being followed by a police vehicle as he sped down Ala Moana Boulevard, police said. After crossing three lanes of traffic to attempt a right turn onto Kamakee Street, he crashed into a group of pedestrians before ramming into another pickup and critically injuring its driver, police said.
Police said Sumang hit the pedestrians at 51 mph.
Others killed in the accident include Casimir Pokorny, 26, of Pennsylvania and Reino Ikeda, 47, of Japan.
House Bill 703 still needs to be heard by the House Finance Committee and the Senate.