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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 5, 2010

Driver indicted in Nānākuli death

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Raelynn Aloha Adams

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Albert Birmingham

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Albert Birmingham was intoxicated when his car ran over and killed Raelynn Aloha Adams on Jan. 31 in Nānākuli, a prosecutor alleged after Birmingham was indicted yesterday for manslaughter and other crimes.

Birmingham, 36, of Makiki, was originally arrested on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, among other charges.

He was later charged with negligent homicide but the grand jury increased the charge to man-slaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in pri-son.

Birmingham was also indicted on charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious bodily injury, drunken driving and operating a vehicle while his license was suspended or revoked.

He is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Birmingham had been previously convicted of a drunk-driving incident and was wanted for arrest in another DUI case when he allegedly killed Adams, 20, of Mākaha, in the drive-through lane of a McDonald's restaurant in Nānākuli.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Victoria Kapp yesterday said Birmingham's blood alcohol level was 0.132 well above the legal limit of 0.08 when he allegedly ran over Adams.

"The suspect was intoxicated at the time of the incident and fled the scene," Kapp told Circuit Judge Richard Perkins.

After driving away from McDonald's, Kapp said, Birmingham "took off the magnetic signs on his SUV to conceal the identity of the vehicle when the police were searching the area."

Birmingham was convicted of drunken driving and criminal property damage, a felony, in 2003. He was charged with two more drunk-driving offenses between 2003 and 2008, but those charges were dismissed, according to court records.

In November 2008, he was charged in another drunken-driving case but failed to appear at a court hearing in March 2009.

A bench warrant for his arrest in that case had been outstanding since June 2009. That warrant was served on Birmingham when police arrested him in the aftermath of Adams' death.

Witnesses told police that Birmingham was honking his SUV's horn at the vehicle carrying Adams and others, which was in front of Birmingham in the drive-through lane at McDonald's.

Adams and a 15-year-old girl got out of their car after Adams' boyfriend became involved in a confrontation with Birmingham, police said.

Birmingham's car allegedly accelerated and struck Adams and the girl, according to police reports.

Adams was run over by the front and rear tires of the SUV, according to Kapp.