WAILUKU - A Kihei woman who said she wanted to get treatment and stay sober was released Thursday after being incarcerated for nearly five months for possessing drugs that she was seen throwing into a trash can after being stopped by a police officer last year.
Donda Bird, 43, was placed on five years' probation. She was sentenced Thursday under a law calling for treatment and probation instead of prison for first-time nonviolent drug offenders.
During the 144 days she had been jailed, Bird said that she saw other women going in and out of jail.
"I don't want that to be me," she said.
Bird had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, as well as another count of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. As part of a plea agreement, the prosecution dismissed a charge of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.
Bird was arrested at about 2 a.m. July 20 after a police officer heard a woman yelling and swearing "at the top of her lungs" while in the parking lot of Oceans Beach Bar and Grill in Kihei, said Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas.
He said Bird was "leaning over the handlebars of a moped she was driving at a high rate of speed."
The officer made contact with Bird after she turned into the Chevron gas station on South Kihei Road, where she asked to go into the store to buy cigarettes, Temas said. He said store surveillance video showed Bird holding a case, which she threw into a trash container in front of a store clerk. The clerk had heard Bird say, "I'm going to be arrested so I don't need this" before throwing away the container, Temas said.
He said the clerk took the rectangular container out of the trash and signaled the officer.
In the container were a methamphetamine pipe and multiple packets of methamphetamine with a net weight of 8.874 grams, Temas said.
"That's quite a bit of dope," he said.
Bird was in jail after failing to follow court requirements while she had been released, Temas said.
Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza followed a plea agreement in sentencing Bird, telling her that she needed to follow through with a drug treatment plan.
She was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to pay $402 in restitution.
In another sentencing, a Waiehu man was taken into custody Wednesday to serve a 21-day jail term in a stolen-vehicle case.
Brandon Milligan, 37, had pleaded no contest to unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested after an officer checked on the welfare of a driver after seeing a vehicle that was moving slowly in a parking lot, said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura. She said the driver, who was Milligan, said he didn't need help. But he was arrested after the officer realized the vehicle had been stolen about a month earlier in September 2010 while parked at the Maui Community Correctional Center, Hura said.
While Milligan told police someone had given him the vehicle, the person he named disputed that, Hura said. She said police found drugs and paraphernalia in the vehicle.
"This case does seem like a very typical case this court would see - someone who has a very long-standing history of drug addiction turns to crime," Hura said.
Milligan said he is a single parent who has tried to impress on his son how making wrong choices can affect your future.
"In 2010, I made a bad choice and this is why I am in your courtroom today," Milligan said to 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo. "I regret my actions."
Loo followed a plea agreement, sentencing Milligan to the jail term and five years' probation under a law calling for treatment and probation instead of prison for first-time nonviolent drug offenders.
He was ordered to pay $1,150 in restitution and a $1,000 fine.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.