- Associated Press - Sunday, April 30, 2017

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - A Kauai police officer will return to patrol duty after a jury found him not guilty of negligent homicide for hitting a pedestrian with his vehicle while responding to the scene of an accident.

Officer Irvin Magayanes was acquitted of negligent homicide in the 2015 death of 19-year-old Michael Kocher Jr. on Thursday.

“We’re happy with the verdict. We think that justice was done,” said Magayanes‘ attorney, Craig De Costa. “It was a difficult case, and these are tragic circumstances.”

Kocher, of Hanapepe, had been walking down Kaumualii Highway when he was struck by a car. He was still alive and lying on the roadway when he was struck again by Magayanes, who had been traveling at 75 mph as he responded to the initial crash site.

De Costa said the scene of the accident was nearly a mile closer than police had expected. He argued that the lighting along the highway was poor and that Magayanes did not have enough time to react once he saw Kocher before hitting him.

But Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar said Magayanes was “driving far too fast under the circumstances and disregarded a number of signs that would have indicated that there was a hazardous situation going on there.”

Magayanes had been assigned to administrative duties after the incident. He is expected to return to regular duty.

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