Trial underway for former Maui police officer accused of DUI
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — A former Maui police officer was “beyond drunk” before his pickup truck sideswiped a parked car and crashed into a utility pole, witnesses testified.
The trial of 28-year-old Mousa Kawas began earlier this month in Wailuku District Court with witnesses saying the former officer had spent the night drinking before crashing in February, The Maui News reported Tuesday.
Kawas has pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI, reckless driving, inattention to driving, lack of due care, and leaving the scene after striking a vehicle or property.
A group of police recruits celebrating a birthday ran into Kawas at a bar in Kihei Kalama Village, officer Andrew Szczepan told the court. The group that included Szczepan went to another bar, where Kawas later showed up more intoxicated, he said.
“I went and talked to him to see if he was OK,” Szczepan said. “At that time, yes, I thought he should have stopped drinking.”
The recruits and Kawas stayed at the bar until closing. Szczepan said he did not think Kawas could safely drive, noting he hadn’t seen the officer more intoxicated than he was that night.
A white truck with its headlights off pulled out of a parking lot and smashed into a cement pillar, Merriette Harp told the court. The truck continued driving and almost hit her vehicle before sideswiping a parked vehicle, she said. She called 911.
“I almost got hit, my truck almost got hit,” Harp said. “That was pretty shocking.”
Kihei resident Huali Borges told the court she heard a crash. She then walked outside to see the truck smashed into a fence and a utility pole with a transformer.
As of Nov. 30, Kawas was no longer employed by the Maui Police Department, police said.
Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com