I’m Lena Castles, the widow of David F. Castles. Who is David F. Castles? He was my husband and the daddy of our daughter who was five when the vehicle he was driving was involved in an accident at 1:11 a.m. on August 11, 2006. He died at the scene. The accident happened on North Kihei Road where we set up a memorial site for him.
Why am I writing this today? A recent “LC Watch” article came out in Maui Time Weekly (“15 Days,” May 10, 2007). I felt like I was re-living the horrible days immediately following the accident. This article by Anthony Pignataro is about how the Liquor Commission slapped a 15-day liquor suspension on Lahaina’s Paradice Bluz, the club that Dave last visited before driving home to Kihei. Mr. Pignataro describes my husband as “a drunk.” He was a person that drank too much that night, but he was not “a drunk.” He was a family man and a professional businessman that was loved by many.
Remember… a life has been lost. The family of “David F. Castles” still suffers.
My husband’s consumption of alcohol was a factor in the accident. Drinking and driving was a choice he made. The club serving him 11 drinks was also a factor. The other factor that people don’t know about is that my husband came around the right bend on North Kihei Road that dark early morning and there was a vehicle parked on his shoulder facing him with headlights on. This vehicle was trying to tow another vehicle that was stuck in the sand. The police report states that seeing the headlights could have led Dave to think his lane of travel was to the right of the headlights, when it was actually to the left. The report states that Dave did not lose control of his vehicle. It’s important to me that people know that. He made a split second decision and went to the right of the headlights facing him.
The result was Dave lost his life and in doing so, possibly saved the lives of those parked on his road shoulder with their headlights facing him on the turn.
David F. Castles was not “a drunk” and he did not lose control of his vehicle. He was my husband and “Daddy” to our little girl and we will love and miss him always.
-Lena Castles, via email
Anthony Pignataro responds: I apologize for offending you. It was certainly not my intention. While there’s no question Castles was drunk at the time of the accident—his blood alcohol content was more than four times the legal limit when he died—I can see now that it was insensitive of me to describe one of the charges leveled at Paradice Bluz as “knowingly permitting a drunk to remain on the premises,” which is the only instance in the story in which I use the phrase “a drunk.” I assure you it was not a swipe at your late husband, but a colloquialism I’ve used before to describe “an intoxicated person.” It won’t happen again.
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