While mourners flocked to a mansion in Hillsborough to pay their respects to the Tongan prince and princess killed in a car accident last week, Caltrans removed an impromptu shrine to the couple along U.S. Highway 101 where their car flipped multiple times, killing them and their driver.
Caltrans removed the collection of candles, pictures and flowers on northbound 101 between Willow and Marsh roads Tuesday, where many passing motorists pulled over to pay their respects or take photos, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro.
“It’s definitely a tough decision,” Navarro said. “The Tongan community is a large community, and we’re very sensitive to the community, but we have to think about causing any further tragedy.”
The shrine was moved to Tapanekale Church Of Tonga, 335 Hemlock Ave. in Redwood City.
Prince Tu’ipelehake, 56, and Princess Kaimana, 46, along with their close friend and driver Vinisia Hefa, 36, died July 5 when their Ford Explorer was allegedly sideswiped by 18-year-old Redwood City resident Edith Delgado.
Delgado is being held on manslaughter and speeding charges, with bail set at $3 million, and is due back in court for a bail review on Thursday morning, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The bodies of the Tongan royal couple are awaiting transport back home.
The Tongan Consul General Tevita Kolokihakaufisi is holding daily 5 p.m. prayer services at his Hillsborough mansion.