A man who was fleeing police when he drove his car into a group of pedestrians in Kakaako in 2019 – killing three and injuring four others – is set to spend 30 years in prison, the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office announced on Wednesday.
Alins Sumang, 29, struck a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter and four counts of assault in the second degree.
Under the agreement, Sumang will serve three concurrent 20-year prison sentences for the manslaughter charges, four concurrent five-year prison sentences for the assault charges and an additional five-year prison term for violating the terms of his probation in a 2016 terroristic threatening case.
On January 28, 2019, Sumang was speeding his pickup truck down Ala Moana Boulevard when he veered into a traffic island and struck a group of people, killing three, prosecutors said. He then hit another pickup truck that was stopped at a red light, seriously injuring the driver.
Sumang had crashed into several parked cars before running over the pedestrians, according to court records.
Police suspected Sumang was driving drunk. A half-empty bottle of vodka was found inside the pickup truck, and Sumang was behaving belligerently, speaking with slurred speech and cursing at emergency workers, according to a police statement filed in court.
“Due to the egregious nature of Sumang’s crimes that took the lives of three innocent people and injured four more, we did not believe that a 20-year sentence for manslaughter was sufficient. For that reason, we insisted that Sumang’s prison terms run consecutively,” Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said in a statement.
“While we cannot replace the lives of the victims, we can at the very least assure that the public is protected from this dangerous man. This 30-year sentence provides that assurance.”
Alm’s office said it consulted with the surviving victims and the families of the deceased victims before entering the plea agreement.
Sumang is scheduled to be sentenced June 17, 2021.
A few months after the crash, two survivors – Lianna McCurdy, Daniel Verderame – and Gail Garin, the mother of a man who was killed, filed a lawsuit against Sumang, the city and Honolulu police officer Sheldon Watts for negligence.
They alleged Officer Sheldon Watts violated the Honolulu Police Department’s pursuit policy by failing to turn on his lights and siren. The lawsuit also points out that HPD policy states supervisors should halt pursuits when they become hazardous. The case is pending in court.
Melissa Lau, whose husband was killed in the crash, also filed a negligence lawsuit against Sumang, the city and Watts in December 2020. That case is also ongoing.
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