The Maui County Department of the Prosecuting Attorney announced today a new unit dedicated to the prosecution of traffic crimes, including motor vehicle-related homicide, habitual alcohol and drug impaired driving, and felony injury related to speeding and distracted driving.
The department’s Vehicular Homicide and Road Safety Unit will work closely with the Maui Police Department’s existing Vehicular Homicide Unit and DUI Task Force on investigation and prosecution of these serious offenses.
Mayor Michael Victorino said he strongly supports creation of the unit. “The people of Maui County deserve this additional level of protection, and I hope this unit will continue to reduce the number of fatalities on our highways,” Mayor Victorino said.
Maui County Prosecutor Don Guzman said: “Establishment of the Vehicular Homicide and Road Safety Unit is a big step towards saving lives in Maui. We believe that our joint efforts with the officers of the Maui Police Department will help reduce the number of tragic and unnecessary deaths on our roadways each year that are caused by impaired and dangerous drivers.”
In 2019, there were 21 fatal traffic crashes in Maui that resulted in 23 fatalities. Of the 21 fatal crashes, 80% involved either alcohol, drugs or both, and speed was also a factor in 33% of the fatal crashes.
“The establishment of this unit comes as part of our department’s ongoing efforts to improve roadway safety and increase awareness of impaired driving, such as the implementation of electronic search warrants, sign-waving at impairment checkpoints, creating public service announcements, participating in County Council meetings, and promoting the recent passage of the County towing bill to ensure that drivers arrested for drunk driving do not further endanger the public,” Guzman said.
Effective July 1, 2020, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brandon Segal will serve as the first Supervisor of the Vehicular Homicide and Road Safety Unit.
Guzman said, “This position requires an individual with extensive experience in the prosecution of serious traffic offenses, as well as a track record of strong leadership, excellent legal research, and successful trial advocacy. Throughout his years of service with our department, Mr. Segal has demonstrated his commitment to improving traffic safety in Maui County. Mr. Segal supervised our District Court division, expertly handled and assisted in vehicular homicide and injury cases, and obtained convictions and justice for victims of impaired and dangerous drivers.”
Thanks to the strong backing from Mayor Victorino and his administration and the overwhelming support from each member of the Maui County Council, the Vehicular Homicide and Road Safety Unit Supervisor will become a permanent position within the Maui County Prosecutor’s department. In addition to investigation and prosecution of serious traffic crimes, the Supervisor will partner with local, state, and national agencies to reform traffic safety legislation, promote policy initiatives, and support community outreach. The Supervisor will also assist and train District Court deputy attorneys to efficiently and effectively prosecute offenses involving operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as well as other traffic crimes and infractions.