- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - A Maui police officer was sentenced to a year of probation this week after prosecutors said she endangered her 3-year-old son by crashing her vehicle while she was intoxicated.

Rachel Kealoha faced a misdemeanor charge after driving her vehicle into a guardrail June 17, with her son in the backseat. She pleaded no contest, Wailuku newspaper Maui News reported Tuesday (http://ow.ly/Ljaew ).

No one was injured, but witnesses who saw her before the crash believed she was drunk, Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Teshima said. A driver saw her swerving on the road, he said.

“Despite offers for help, she endangered her son’s welfare when she drove with him while drunk,” he said.

She had a beer but wasn’t drunk, her defense attorney David Sereno said.

“She was going through a stressful and horrible divorce proceeding that involved issues of custody,” he said.

Kealoha will have an opportunity to keep the conviction off her record, which will allow her to keep her job, the newspaper reported.

She decided to plead no contest to second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor in part to avoid the stress of a trial, Sereno said.

“We have what we believe to be a viable and, quite frankly, a strong defense here,” he said.

Kealoha wasn’t cited at the scene or subjected to field sobriety tests and was not given an opportunity to take a test to determine her blood-alcohol level, according to court records.

She declined to speak in court at her sentencing.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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