- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Big Island man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for causing a 2012 traffic collision that killed two women and injured seven other people.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura sentenced 33-year-old Alfred Berdon III Monday. He pleaded no contest to negligent homicide and negligent injury charges in connection with the Hamakua crash, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1LyEE0G).

Berdon collided with a van carrying seven Puna Certified Nursery workers who had been returning home from a job and heading to Hilo. Police said Berdon had been trying to pass the vehicle in his pickup truck when he struck the van, which veered off the road and plunged down a 15-foot embankment.

Patrocinia Cadang, 54, and Josefina Visaya, 61, were killed in the crash. Three other women were seriously injured and four others sustained minor injuries.

In court Monday, Berdon’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sherilyn Tavares, said her client was “taking responsibility for his actions,” and accepted the plea deal against her advice.

Police reports state that Berdon’s blood-acohol level following the crash tested at 0.06, below the 0.08 threshold for legal intoxication.

Tavares said Berdon was taking his 7-year-old son to basketball practice after finishing work on a fishing boat “and, yes, he had consumed alcohol while he was on that boat.”

But Tavares described the collision as an accident and said Berdon did not mean to cause any harm.

“He had no intention of causing an accident,” Tavares said. “He had no intention of risking his life, his son’s life or anyone else who was on the road that day. He had no intention of putting anyone in danger.”

Berdon apologized in court Monday for his actions.

“It was the biggest mistake of my life,” Berdon said, as he read from a written statement. “If I could take it back, I would, in a heartbeat. But I can’t. I can never truly fix the results of what happened that day. I am truly sorry.”

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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