OFFENDING DRIVER SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS FOR TAKING SOUTH MAUI BICYCLIST KARL HAGEN’S LIFE
See http://gokihei.org/?s=Bicyclist+karl+hagen&submit=Search for tragic history
As much as a horrid situation of this nature can terminate, at least the legal portion of it did , as Judge Bissen imposed a ten year sentence on one charge (actually a single 10 year sentence and multiple five year ones, which are to served concurrently) for the man who plead guilty to running down Karl Hagen last year on the Pi’ilani Highway. The Maui Bicycle League, http://mauibicyclingleague.org/ , in cooperation with the Hagen family, arranged a bicycle ride to the courthouse to commemorate the event and to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.
See professiona; report im Maui News 12/5/15:
Man gets 15 years for crash, drugs
Bicyclists ride to courthouse to show support for victim’s family
December 5, 2015
WAILUKU – Before his pickup truck went into a bike lane to cause a collision that killed a bicyclist last year, a Kula man’s Facebook post described how he had celebrated by drinking and driving when he got his license back after a drunken-driving conviction.
Nine months after the crash that killed 61-year-old Wailea resident Karl Hagen, defendant Michael Cattaneo was arrested again when he was found with a methamphetamine pipe and drugs in his system, a deputy prosecutor said.
On Friday, Cattaneo, 29, was sentenced to prison terms totaling 15 years for the fatal crash and for drug possession.
About 30 bike riders honor fallen cyclist Karl Hagen, 61, with a ride from Maalaea to Wailuku on Friday morning prior to the sentencing of the man who struck the bicyclist with his truck in April 2014.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
“Your rule-breaking attitude has cost a man his life,” 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen told Cattaneo, after Hagen’s family and friends described how the husband, father, son, brother and friend was taken too soon. “And as you can hear, it’s devastated pretty much a small community.”
Nearly 30 bicyclists rode from Kihei to the courthouse to join Hagen’s wife, daughters, other family members and friends – including some who traveled from the Mainland – for the sentencing. They wore T-shirts and buttons saying “I Am Here For Karl.”
“Whether it was Mr. Hagen or someone who didn’t have the friends and family he has, the loss would be the same,” Bissen said. “There’s nothing the court can do that would change the circumstances.
“I guess the focus is on how would we change you or people who think like you or people who act like you,” the judge told Cattaneo. “How do I stop them and you from doing this again? What I can do is separate you from society long enough for you to gain this insight and also prevent this from happening to others.”
Cattaneo had pleaded no contest to first-degree negligent homicide for the crash at 1:12 p.m. April 12, 2014, on Piilani Highway north of Kanani Road. Police said Cattaneo was driving a black 1992 Ford Ranger pickup truck that was heading north on the highway when the truck drifted into the bicycle lane and struck Hagen, who was also traveling north.
“He mowed down someone on a bicycle who was riding in a dedicated bike lane,” said Deputy Prosecutor Kerry Glen. “He was riding in the middle of the day. He was quite visible. But in the defendant’s words, he just ‘wasn’t paying attention, something happened.’
“What he won’t say is it was the methamphetamine or amphetamine or marijuana that was found in his system that caused that. He does not believe drugs had anything to do with killing Karl Hagen.”
Deputy Public Defender Wendy Hudson said there were trace amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana in Cattaneo’s system. “That’s not the reason for this accident,” she said. “This happened because he was a distracted driver on a busy road that day.”
Robin Hagen said her husband was “my best friend and the love of my life.” He was killed just short of their 26th wedding anniversary, also leaving their daughters, Ariel and Michaela.
“It breaks my heart knowing that they have lost such a significant part of their lives,” Robin Hagen said. “He will miss so many milestones.”
Ariel Hagen said that her father was “my best friend, my hero and my inspiration.”
“I hope he can see I live each day in a way that can make him proud,” she said.
“Karl was decent, honest, smart, hardworking and he had a beautiful family,” said his longtime friend Bill Ford. “Over the years, some of us joked about living in Karl’s world.”
Hagen also was an avid bicyclist who advocated for designated riding areas and the use of safety gear including lights and helmets, daughter Michaela said.
“He was alive, so healthy, so happy,” Robin Hagen said. “He enjoyed his friends, loved his family. And he was looking forward to many more years of happiness.
“His death was so senseless.”
Cattaneo also had pleaded no contest to third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia for his arrest Dec. 27.
He was riding his dirt bike when police found him with a methamphetamine pipe, as well as methamphetamine, marijuana and oxycodone in his system, Glen said.
“Even after killing a man, he did not believe he had a problem,” she said. “He did not go seek help. He did not try to do anything except live the life that he was living – and that was choosing to do drugs, choosing to drive while intoxicated and choosing not to respect the laws of our state and the human life that was on the road with him.”
Hudson said Cattaneo had been “self-medicating” to avoid coping with what happened in the crash. While he may have been in denial about his substance abuse issues then, now “he’s been actively seeking treatment,” she said.
Cattaneo’s mother, Janice McCormick, said she talks to him every week. Turning to Hagen’s family and friends in the courtroom gallery, she said, “You need to know how terrible he feels.”
Cattaneo also addressed the gallery, saying, “There’s nothing I can say that’ll ever bring your friend and dad and husband back.”
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “Sorry can never bring anything back, but I know what it’s like to lose your father and it really sucks, I know it does.”
While he asked to be sentenced to probation and an 18-month jail term with early release into a residential drug treatment program, the prosecution sought the maximum 10-year prison term it could request under the plea agreement.
Glen said Cattaneo was convicted of DUI in 2007 for a 2006 arrest.
“He satisfied the sentence, but his attitude about it was something that was alarming to the state,” she said. “The police, the laws are all inconveniences to the defendant.”
Glen read posts on Cattaneo’s Facebook page, including one from April 2, 2012. “Would’nt u have a beer on ur drive home from working hard? I just got my lisence back after DUI!!! I have to celebrate!!!” the post said.
Four days later, Cattaneo posted: “Heart Attack-(hart -a-tak)verb-deff: Getting off working construction @ 6:30pm Fri. night. Equipt with my Pau Hana Corona, whie riding “dusty”(not enough action for the full ridin dirty!), and two bench warrants… Only to get blinded by those o’ so familliar blue flashing lights. Combined with cones, portable light posts, Maui’s “Finest,” and a sign reading “SOBRIETY CHECK POINT!!!” Lucky me, they were still setting up!!!”
He described another encounter with police in a Dec. 26, 2013, post: “what did you get for xmas Mike?” “arrested! But no matter how hard officer Jack Mehadah tried to ruin xmas cause he cant catch my dirtbike. He lost to my amazing gf, and my good friend. Thank you two.”
In sentencing the defendant to consecutive prison terms totaling 15 years in the two cases, Bissen said Cattaneo didn’t wake up the morning of the crash intending to hurt or kill someone.
“But you also woke up with the same attitude that you have long held that the rules do not apply to you, that somehow you are able to push and test the limits and even cross the limits,” Bissen told Cattaneo. “You clearly have no respect for the law. You have no respect for other people. And you probably don’t even respect yourself. If you did, you wouldn’t post the kind of things you posted.”
After being cited for leash-law violations, Cattaneo talked about what he wanted to do to neighbors who had called police, Bissen said.
He said that if Cattaneo wants, he could seek drug treatment in prison or after he is paroled.
In both the negligent homicide and drug cases, charges of driving under the influence of an intoxicant and not having insurance were dismissed in exchange for Cattaneo’s pleas.
He was ordered to pay $11,557 in restitution.
“We think it was a fair sentence,” Robin Hagen said after the hearing. “We do feel strongly prison time was warranted. We hope he is rehabilitated.”
She thanked the judge, prosecutor’s office and those who showed up in court Friday. “We have awesome support from our family and friends and the cycling community,” she said.
Cattaneo was convicted of operating a vehicle negligently to cause the death of a vulnerable user, which includes bicyclists and pedestrians.
“When tragedy like this happens, we want to support the victim,” said Dan Rezac of the nonprofit Maui Bicycling League, which organized the ride Friday. “We want safer streets, safer places to ride. We have a place out on the streets. We also are not going to be silent.”
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.