7 Jan 2013

Jail sentence over fatal American Samoa bus incident

5:20 pm on 7 January 2013

The driver of a bus which struck a retired American Samoa police commander while he was crossing the street has been sentenced to 20 months in jail.

35-year-old Reino Esera admitted he unintentionally caused the death of Malele Notise Forsythe when he fell asleep behind the wheel and his bus struck the victim in Nuuuli in August.

The Chief Justice Michaal Kruse said the accident happened because Esera fell asleep as he had been watching rugby games on TV the night before.

He said what was intentional was staying awake at night and then driving a bus while sleeping.

The judge also noted that Esera has a history of traffic citations in the almost 10 years he has been operating buses, with some fines still outstanding.

Esera must pay 4,250 US dollars in restitution for the victim's medical and funeral costs.