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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'Time bomb' gets 4 days in prison

By Paul Curtis
Garden Island

LĪHU'E, Kaua'i A man called "a time bomb" by a state judge was given a four-day prison sentence after being found guilty of stealing a van.

Jon Michael Buono, 29, of Kīlauea, was recently sentenced by 5th Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano.

Valenciano and deputy prosecutor Lauren McDowell agreed that it was pure luck that no one was killed or seriously injured when Buono ignored the advice of friends at a party and took off in a van belonging to someone else.

He totaled the van, left the owners without any transportation, and was "irresponsible, dangerous, dishonest, drunk," McDowell said.

Buono had a blood-alcohol level of .190 at the time of his arrest in late 2005 more than double the legal limit of 0.08, McDowell said.

Buono's lawyer, deputy public defender John Calma, said Buono shows "great remorse," and teaches art classes.

Buono was going through a hard time in his life, and was dealing with his problems by using alcohol, Calma said.

McDowell countered that Buono only began counseling after being found guilty.

"He's been given the gift of surviving the crash without any death or injury," said McDowell, who asked for a six-month prison term.

"You were lucky no one was badly hurt," said Valenciano, adding that he is concerned about Buono's prior conviction for driving while under the influence of an intoxicant.

"You didn't learn the first time. It took two incidences to make that change," Valenciano said. "Mr. Buono, you were a time bomb. You need to know how dangerous you were when you got into that car that night."