Kauai police officer charged in deadly pedestrian crash

Irvin Magayanes

A Kauai police officer has been arrested and charged for his alleged involvement in a deadly pedestrian crash.

Officer Irvin Magayanes was arrested Thursday on suspicion of second-degree negligent homicide and released after posting $1,000 bail.

On Saturday, Jan. 3, police say Michael Kocher Jr., 19, of Hanapepe, was walking along Kaumualii Highway at around 9:35 p.m., just east of the Kaumakani Post Office, when he was struck by a Toyota Corolla heading east-bound.

Photo provided by the Kocher family
Photo provided by the Kocher family

The driver stopped and police were called. That’s when a responding officer, also heading east, struck Kocher a second time.

Responding medics confirmed that Kocher had no vital signs and was presumed dead at the scene. He was later transported to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, where a medical doctor formally pronounced him dead.

A county spokeswoman confirms Kocher was alive after the first hit and died after the second.

Police Chief Darryl Perry released the following statement Friday:

“The events of this tragic traffic collision, which led to the untimely death of Michael Kocher, Jr., lies heavily on the hearts of all KPD employees, and we extend our deepest sympathy to the Kocher ‘ohana.

Our hearts also go out to Officer Magayanes, whose every intention that night was to assist in an emergency.

I am confident that our department conducted a thorough and objective investigation, as we do with all of our cases, regardless of those involved. While we do understand the frustrations relating to the length of traffic fatality investigations, it is essential that no stone be left unturned. Every available statement and evidence must be gathered and forwarded to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney so that a fact-based, informed decision may be rendered.

Based on the outcome of this investigation, the Prosecutor has decided to move forward with charges against Officer Magayanes. Cases such as this are very difficult on both a personal and professional level, however, our mission to serve and protect the community is clear, and we must move forward in the name of justice for both the victim and the accused.”

Magayanes has been with the department for two years.

Officials say his police powers were removed, including his equipment, and he is on administrative duty pending a judiciary proceeding.

His court date is set for Aug. 25.

As for why the investigation took so long, Kauai police say it was essential that every available statement and evidence be gathered.

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