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Honolulu Tentatively Agrees to $7 Million Settlement with Remaining Makaha Crash Victim

(AP) — Honolulu has tentatively agreed to a $7 million settlement with a 17-year-old boy who was riding in the back seat of a Honda Civic when it crashed following a high-speed police pursuit in Makaha in 2021.

The settlement agreement, which was reached last week, is pending approval by the Honolulu City Council.

The lawsuit was filed in 2021 on behalf of Dayten Gouveia, who was 14 at the time of the crash that left him partially paralyzed. He is the last of the crash victims to settle with the city. His lawyer, Eric Seitz, said he will drop a federal lawsuit he filed in September accusing city officials of stalling.

In February, the City Council approved a $12.5 million settlement for the driver of the Honda Civic, Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati. It is the largest police-related settlement in city history.

Honolulu police arrested Perkins-Sinapati on May 4 on gun and drug charges. He was later forced to forfeit $750,000 bail after he failed to appear for an arraignment on May 20. He is now being held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center on $1 million bail, according to court records.

Perkins-Sinapati’s lawyer, Michael Green, did not respond to a request for comment.

The city settled with four other passengers of the Honda Civic for $4.5 million last year. All were critically injured.

Seitz said he was upset by how the city handled his client’s case and how long it took them to offer a settlement given how much they were willing to grant Perkins-Sinapati.

“The settlement is for far less than what the case really should’ve been settled for,” he said.

Honolulu spokesman Scott Humber said in a statement the city would not comment on the settlement agreement until the City Council had a chance to review the offer.

Seitz said the civil trial kept getting pushed off due to delays in the criminal case for the officers involved in the crash. He said he advised Gouveia’s family to accept the offer so that they could pay for some of the expensive medical care he requires, which includes intensive physical and occupational therapy.

“That was the best we could do,” he said. “I don’t like being put in that position. I feel that the city’s handling of this case was simply atrocious.”

The officers — Joshua Nahulu, Erik Smith, Jake Bartolome and Robert Lewis — had all been scheduled to stand trial June 3. It has been continued to Oct. 7.

Nahulu is charged with a collision involving death or serious injury. Smith, Bartolome and Lewis face counts of hindering prosecution and criminal conspiracy. All have pleaded not guilty.

HPD fired Nahulu, Smith and Bartolome in February, but all have filed grievances with the department. Lewis is still employed but was suspended for three days last year.

Seitz said he will continue to pursue claims against Perkins-Sinapati and his then-girlfriend, Brittany Miyatake, who owned the Honda Civic. Both are named as defendants in the original lawsuit Seitz filed against the city.

“He was an active participant in all of this,” Seitz said. “He could have stopped his car at any time. My client was merely a passenger.”

A trial in the civil case is set for May 26, 2025.

 

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