It’s been more than 18-months since police officer Garret Davis was hit and killed while making a routine traffic stop on the H1 Freeway.
His family says they are one step closer to justice, now that the man accused of slamming into Davis’s car is now looking at manslaughter charges.
The man accused of crashing into the police officer has been walking free, until yesterday.
KHON2 found out that state sheriff’s deputies picked up 42 year-old Scott Ebert, after a grand jury indicted him this week.
It’s been months since Honolulu Police Officer Garret Davis was laid to rest and family members have been left waiting for justice to be served.
“It’s been really hard, we all miss my brother,” the officer’s sister Amanda Stevens said. “We had a son in January, not having my brother around, is really difficult.”
The man accused of crashing into her brother’s marked car, causing it to burst into flames is Scott Ebert.
“I do know he was driving at extremely high rates of speed and had made some choices that caused him not to pay attention to the road that evening. And many reported he was speeding, before he hit my brother,” Stevens explained.
Ebert, 41-years-old at the time, was arrested for negligent homicide, but then released pending investigation.
On Friday, state sheriff deputies picked him up again, this time on an indictment for manslaughter from a grand jury.
“Knowing that Ebert will be in jail for some time and get some freedoms taken away and not continue living his life how it was, does help and does bring some solace,” Stevens added .
Ebert had been a fire inspector with the Federal Fire Department and an Air Force reservist.
According to court records, Ebert had several traffic violations, including three for speeding.
“If you’re going to be speeding, far in excess, it’s not just your life you’re taking in your hands, but others,” Stevens said. “Sometimes, it’s an officer just trying to do his job.”
Stevens and her family played a huge role in urging lawmakers to pass the “Move Over” bill in 2012, which now requires drivers to keep one lane between their vehicle and any emergency vehicle, when possible.
It also requires drivers to slow down when approaching the scene of an accident or traffic stop.
“I hope it makes people stop and think what they’re doing behind the wheel,” Stevens said.
And although nothing can bring back her brother or take away the pain, Stevens added, “Seeing him indicted and starting the process of getting him brought to justice is beginning the closure process for us.”
Ebert posted $100,000 bail.
He is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Hawaii Revised Statutes [§291C-27] Emergency vehicle stopped for emergencies; duty of approaching vehicle.
(a) A driver of a vehicle that is approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped for an emergency, investigation of a possible traffic violation, rendering assistance to a police officer, or other official duties, as indicated by the flashing emergency lights of the stopped emergency vehicle, shall:
(1) Slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe under the circumstances of an emergency road situation ahead. Reasonableness and prudence shall take into account weather conditions, road conditions, and vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the immediate area. If necessary, the driver shall come to a complete stop before making a lane change under paragraph (2); and
(2) Make a lane change into the adjacent lane if necessary and if it is safe to do so, or if possible, to two lanes over which leaves one lane between the driver and the emergency vehicle.
(b) As used in this section, “emergency vehicle” means a police or fire department vehicle, ocean safety vehicle, emergency medical services vehicle, freeway service patrol vehicle, or a tow truck.
(c) Violation of subsection (a) shall not be subject to section 287-20, relating to furnishing proof of financial responsibility.
A violation of subsection (a) shall constitute a violation if no death or injury results from the violation.
If a death or injury occurs and is attributable to the driver of the vehicle for a violation of subsection (a), then the driver shall instead be charged under section 707-702.5 for negligent homicide in the first degree; section 707-703 for negligent homicide in the second degree; section 707-704 for negligent homicide in the third degree; section 707-705 for negligent injury in the first degree; or section 707-706 for negligent injury in the second degree, as applicable. [L 2012, c 318, §2]