Drift racer who crashed into triathlete gets 1 year in prison
A 21-year-old man who crashed into and caused serious injury to a bicyclist while drift racing on Tantalus Drive is going to jail for a year. Taylor Liang was scheduled to turn himself in this morning.
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A 21-year-old man who crashed into and caused serious injury to a bicyclist while drift racing on Tantalus Drive is going to jail for a year.
Taylor Liang was scheduled to turn himself in this morning.
Acting state Circuit Judge Trish Morikawa handed Liang the jail term Thursday as part of a five-year probation sentence for first- degree negligent injury. She also suspended Liang’s driving privileges while he is on probation, except to get to and from work and as part of his job. Liang is an automobile mechanic.
Liang pleaded no contest in April to causing serious bodily injury to competitive triathlete Lectie Altman by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner. He asked Morikawa to defer his plea to give him the opportunity to avoid conviction and to eventually have the charge cleared from his criminal record.
Altman, 35, told Morikawa that just as many of her injuries are permanent, Liang should have a conviction that will permanently stay on his criminal record.
Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa asked Morikawa to impose the maximum five-year prison term for the charge.
Morikawa denied Liang’s request for a
deferral because she said some amount of incarceration is necessary to discourage others from doing what he did. She said she gave him probation because Liang has no prior criminal history, no drug or alcohol
issues, graduated high school and auto mechanic college, has been employed since then and was only 20 years old when he crashed into Altman on Jan. 25, 2018.
“He basically is a good kid,” she said.
Liang apologized to Altman for the pain and suffering she will continue to endure and for dashing many of her hopes, dreams and expectations.
“If I could take back what happened that day, I would. I wish I could take it all back, take back my actions and make the right choices,” Liang said.
Altman competed in triathlons of varying distances, including the Ironman World Championships in Kona, and had recently qualified as a professional. Now she will never walk the same and might never run again.
“At least I’m alive. He could have killed me,” Altman said.
She said she has already undergone numerous lifesaving surgeries, some on the mainland, rehabilitation and physical therapies, with more on the way. She said she had to pay for many related expenses out of her own pocket.
Morikawa has scheduled a restitution hearing for next month.
Altman returned to work Monday as a
behavioral health specialist for the state
Department of Education.
Training partner Michelle Goldstein said she was riding with Altman on Tantalus when “Taylor came screeching around the corner directly at me. He was on the wrong side of the road.”
Goldstein said, “Somehow I escaped on my bike. Lectie, who was behind me, did not escape. I watched her get hit by the car.”
The incident was captured on video by a GoPro camera Liang had attached to the outside of his car.
Futa said Honolulu police stopped Liang 11 days before the crash drifting on Tantalus and cited him for speeding. She said they stopped Liang at 3:18 a.m. Oct. 20, 2017, driving in the wrong lane on Tantalus. That charge was dropped, but Liang was fined $10 and assessed $37 in fees because his headlights were either off or not in compliance with the law.