The Hawai‘i Supreme Court denied a petition for review in the case of a fatal traffic collision in 2017 on Kūhiō Highway in Wailua, upholding the life sentence for a man convicted of several offenses connected to the crash.
Kaua‘i County Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like announced the high court’s decision in a news release Wednesday, June 22.
The petition for review was brought by Cody Safadago, formerly of Washington State, who sought to overturn his convictions in the case. A jury in 2019 convicted Safadago of several charges stemming from the April 2017 crash, including manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.
According to the prosecutor’s news release, on the night of April 27, 2017, while driving a stolen truck on Kūhiō Highway near the intersection of the south end of the Kapa‘a Bypass Road, Safadago crossed the center line and crashed head-on with a sedan being driven by 19-year-old Kayla Huddy-Lemn, who died from injuries she received in the collision.
Safadago fled on foot after the collision and was quickly apprehended by Kaua‘i Police Department Officer Michael Buratti. KPD Traffic Safety Unit Officer Shawn Hanna determined Safadago was traveling at approximately 88 miles per hour when he collided with Huddy-Lemn’s sedan.
After the jury found Safadago guilty, the prosecution sought and received an extended sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for the manslaughter conviction, in addition to other imprisonment terms for the other convictions. Safadago has been in KPD or state Department of Public Safety custody since the night of the crash.
“While there is nothing we can do to undo the harm done by this defendant and the loss suffered by the loved ones of Ms. Huddy-Lemn, we hope that today’s decision by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court brings some comfort to her family, friends and the Kaua‘i community,” Like said in the news release. “We are pleased that this individual will remain in prison, where he cannot cause further harm.”