Family of Calif. teen compared sentence to traffic ticket

Published On: Sep 06 2012 11:01:54 AM HST

Tears flowed in the courtroom on Wednesday for the 16-year-old teenager from Vacaville who died in a watercraft collision in July, for the young man blamed for the deadly crash, and for the families left to pick up the pieces.

"I am deeply sorry for what's I've done," said Tyson Dagley, a 20-year-old Australian man who was visiting Hawaii last month.

During his sentencing, Dagley again expressed remorse for what happened at Keehi Lagoon one month ago to the day.

Video was released by Dagley's attorney that showed exactly what happened.  Prosecutor say Dagley was looking to the side posing for his girlfriend when his WaveRunner slammed into Kristen Fonseca.  The California teenager died a day later.

"I go in her bed and smell her pillows and pretend it's her," said Fonseca's mother Evangelina Canton.

In court, Canton's hands trembled as she expressed her grief, pulling out a short poem Kristen wrote as a young girl.

"I dream I had a cell phone.  I scream when I'm afraid.  I'm an 8-year-old girl.  I want a motor scooter.  I wonder if I will ever have kids," said Canton.

Dagley was charged with third-degree negligent homicide.  He spent 12 days in prison before being freed on $100,000 bail.  Dagley pleaded no contest to the charge.

Judge Richard Perkins accepted the plea on Wednesday, gave him credit for time served, and agreed to clear Dagley's record if he stays out of trouble for a year.

It's a sentence Kristen's family compared to a traffic ticket.

"Mr. Dagley just gets to go home, go back to his life and resume his life just like nothing occurred -- just to move on," said Mario Canton, Fonseca's stepfather.  "It's a travesty to us and I couldn't be more upset about this decision."

Dagley is free to return to Australia, but he must perform 48 hours of community service and pay Fonseca's family more than $78,000 in restitution.

Payments can be made in increments of $30 a month -- a payment Dagley's attorney promises will be fulfilled.

"They take pride.  They keep their word.  They're just good 'salt of the earth' people," said attorney Walter Rodby.

After the sentencing, a second plea from Fonseca's mother.  She hopes her daughter's death inspires Hawaii lawmakers to pass stricter rules for watercraft operations.

"So they don't feel the pain that I'm feeling.  So that they don't wake up every morning looking for your daughter, and she's not there.  So they don't go into the room and hug a pillow that's not their daughter, but smell it and pretend it's her," said Evangelina Canton.

It's but another sign this pain will live long and deep for both families.  Dagley repeatedly broke down crying in court.  The weight of a life lost forever on his shoulders.

"I pray for Kristen and her family every morning and night and no words can explain how I feel," said Dagley.

The Fonsecas are now suing Aloha Jet Ski Rentals along with Dagley for an undisclosed amount of money.

Dagley's girlfriend, Natasha Ryan, is charged with hindering prosecution after she tried to delete video she shot of the watercraft accident.  She's set to enter a plea Friday.


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