Driver in deadly hit-and-run Makaha crash sentenced to 19 months in jail

Mahuiki, 22, credited with time served; will serve 14 more months behind bars

 UPDATED 7:32 PM HST Mar 22, 2013
HONOLULU -

The driver accused in a hit-and-run crash that took the life of a young Makaha man learned his sentence on Friday.

But the victim's family said the punishment Valentine Mahuiki received does not fit the crime.

Shelly Willingham struggled to hold back tears after learning the fate of the young man who killed her son.

“I understand why,” said Willingham outside of the courtroom. “But I’m not happy with it.”

When asked how she was holding up, she said, “Not good. I thought it would be easy, but it’s not.”

Judge Rom Trader sentenced Valentine Keola Mahuiki, 22, to 19 months in jail and five years of probation for negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license.

Mahuiki was 20 years old and legally drunk when he struck Justin Willingham, 22, as he was walking along Farrington Highway in Makaha on the night of August 28, 2011.

According to court documents, the impact slammed Willingham into the windshield of the car and Mahuiki continued driving until he careened off a utility pole and into an embankment with the body still draped in his car.

Witnesses to the crash chased down Mahuiki who ran from the scene.  Prosecutors disagreed with the judge's sentence.

“From the prosecution's perspective, in this case under the facts and circumstances, the punishment should have outweighed the courts concern for rehabilitation,” said Scott Bell, deputy prosecutor.

While Shelly Willingham said Mahuiki's family expressed to her their remorse and sympathy for the tragedy, she was angry she only received an apology in court from the man responsible for her son's death.

“He could have sent a note to me before he ever got locked up.  Why couldn’t he?” said Willingham.

Mahuiki will serve only 14 more months of his 19 month jail sentence after being credited with time served.

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