Driver gets 4 years’ probation in death of Lihue pedestrian
A 34-year-old woman was sentenced this week to probation in the death of a pedestrian hit in a crosswalk in Lihue.
Kauai Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe sentenced Tierra Aiolupotea to four years’ probation and 240 hours of community service. Aiolupotea pleaded no contest under a plea agreement to a charge of second-degree negligent homicide, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Aiolupotea’s lawyer said she didn’t know she hit anyone.
On Oct. 7, 2014, Paulanna Larish, 60, of Lihue was struck by two vehicles while crossing Rice Street in a crosswalk fronting the Lihue Post Office. Police said Larish was crossing the street during the early morning hours when she was first hit by a gray Tacoma driven by Derreck Agan.
Agan stopped his truck and attempted to help her when a second vehicle, a dark blue Mercury Mountaineer driven by Aiolupotea, struck Larish and failed to stop. Police arrested her a week later.
“This is a tragic case involving some very unusual circumstances,” said Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar. “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Paulanna Larish, and we hope this brings the family some closure.”
Watanabe also ordered Aiolupotea, who was living on Kauai at the time of the accident and now lives on Oahu, to pay Larish’s family an estimated $2,000 for funeral expenses.
Aiolupotea, also known as Tierra Medeiros, “has no knowledge or recollection of the incident,” said her attorney, Eric Seitz.
The morning was dark and rainy.
“It was a horrible event,” Seitz said.
An autopsy found Larish died from chest injuries after being struck by the second vehicle, driven by Aiolupotea.
“Everybody involved is very saddened of what happened,” Seitz said.
A Kauai grand jury also indicted Agan in December 2015, and he faces a charge of first-degree negligent homicide, a Class B felony. A court document said a blood test showed he was driving under the influence of Temazepam, prescription medication to treat insomnia, at the time of the accident.
Agan’s hearing is set for Aug. 29.