Kin offer Delgado support, Tongans sympathy

The family of an 18-year-old woman accused of causing the crash that killed two Tongan royals apologized to the Tongan community Thursday and said they pray daily to help that community recover from its losses.

“Our whole family is sorrowful … not a second goes by that we won’t think about what happened and how big of an effect it has had on all of us,” Edith Delgado’s older sister, Marivel Delgado, 19, saidat a press conference in San Jose.

Edith Delgado remains in prison on three charges of vehicular manslaughter associated with the deaths of Tongan Prince Tu’ipelehake, 56, Princess Kaimana, 46, and their driver, Vinisia Hefa, 36, of East Palo Alto.

Delgado’s attorney, Randy Moore, said he plans to appeal a judge’s July 13 decision to uphold Delgado’s $3 million bail, an amount Moore called “unconstitutional.”

By early next week, Moore plans to launch a Web site devoted to the case, at www.mooredelgadonews.com, with updates on the case.

Delgado was allegedly racing at speeds above 85 miles per hour on U.S. Highway 101 between Marsh and Willow roads when her Ford Mustang clipped the Tongans’ Ford Explorer, causing a fatal rollover. She faces up to eight years in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Aaron Fitzgerald.

“She’s not doing so well,” Delgado’s brother, Juan, said Thursday. “I don’t think she is going to get over this.”

Her siblings painted her as a warm, kind, funny person with lots of friends who was excited about her job at Bank of America because her employers were going to help her finish high school and establish a career at the bank.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20, according to Fitzgerald. CHP investigators are still hunting for the black Cadillac Escalade witnesses say was racing Delgado the night of the crash, according to Officer Ricky Franklin.

“People call in, but without a license plate number” the CHP

hasn’t had much luck tracking it down, Franklin said.

Meanwhile, many Peninsula Tongans traveled to the island nation for the funerals of Hefa and the prince and princess on July 21. The bodies of the royal couple were taken to the kingdom’s capital, Lapaha Village, where they were buried in the Langi Na Moala royal tomb. A 10-day period of mourning followed.

The royal family has said they forgive Delgado for her alleged role in the crash that killed the couple Tongans called “the people’s prince and princess.” But they support the legal process.

“Forgiveness does not close one’s eye to justice,” said Prince Tu’ipelehaka’s sister, Princess Siu’ilikutapu in an interview after the crash.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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