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Hawaii lawmakers want habitual bad drivers off the road

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  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / FEB. 22
                                A floral memorial is seen at the intersection where 16-year-old Sara Yara was killed and her friend was injured in a hit-and-run crash just outside McKinley High School.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / FEB. 22

    A floral memorial is seen at the intersection where 16-year-old Sara Yara was killed and her friend was injured in a hit-and-run crash just outside McKinley High School.

A state lawmaker and City Council chairperson today urged Oahu motorists to slow down and asked for a renewed focus on getting habitual bad drivers off the road.

Mitchel Yoshiji Miyashiro, 46, was charged Tuesday with first-degree negligent homicide in connection with the Feb. 15 hit-and-run death of 16-year-old Sara Yara. Yara was in a marked crosswalk on Kapiolani Boulevard and Kamakee Street near the school’s athletic field with a friend who was also injured in the collision.

The traffic investigation by police and prosecutors took almost nine months. Miyashiro pleaded not guilty to driving without a license nine days before he allegedly killed Yara.

Miyashiro had no driver’s license and 164 traffic citations on his record on the morning of Feb. 15 before he allegedly hit Yara and her friend at about 6:40 a.m. with a vehicle registered to his parents.

He was also charged Tuesday with collisions involving death or serious bodily injury, collisions involving bodily injury, and driving without a license.

State House Speaker Scott K. Saiki attended a news conference less than a week after the crash announcing the installation of speed humps or raised crosswalks along Kapiolani Boulevard and Pensacola Street.

He told the Star-Advertiser in a statement today that despite the charges, “this does not take back the grief endured by Sara Yara’s family and the community throughout the past year.”

“It is disheartening that the individual in question had previously received multiple citations for driving without a license and other traffic violations. Although Hawaii’s laws permit imprisonment for such offenses, they were still able to be on the road. Moving forward, it is clear that tragedies like these can be prevented,” said Saiki.

Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters told the Star-Advertiser in a statement that the “safety of our residents throughout Oahu is of the utmost importance to us, and a big part of that is getting drivers to slow down and drive with aloha on our roads.”

“The Honolulu City Council has considered measures that address speeding and will continue to advocate for increasing pedestrian safety in our community. The Council is grateful to the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office for continuing to seek justice in this case, and our prayers continue to go out to the Yara family for their loss,” said Waters.

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