Trial begins today for Edith Delgado

The long-anticipated trial of Edith Delgado, the 19-year-old Redwood City woman accused of driving recklessly in a crash that killed two members of the Tongan royal family and their driver, is scheduled to begin today.

Prosecutors say on July 5, 2006, Delgado was “dangerously” switching lanes in her Ford Mustang on U.S. Highway 101 in Menlo Park. She was allegedly driving in excess of 85 mph when she struck the sport utility vehicle carrying the royal couple as she tried to pass. The SUV rolled over several times, killing the three passengers.

Delgado faces up to eight years in prison for the deaths of Prince Tu’ipelehake, 56, and Princess Kaimana, 46, who were on a diplomatic mission, and their driver, Vinisia Hefa, 36, an East Palo Alto resident. Delgado was arrested at the scene for reckless driving and subsequently passed sobriety tests.

Prosecutors have said that at the time of the crash, witnesses reported seeing her racing a black Cadillac Escalade.

Prosecutors are not saying whether there are any suspects in the racing incident.

“We expect the trial to begin as planned,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who believes jury selection and opening statements may be completed by the end of the day today. The trial start date of March 19 was delayed because an expert witness for the defense was hospitalized with a serious illness.

Delgado has pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. She has been in custody on $1 million bail, which has been reduced since her initial bail was set at $3 million.

Delgado’s attorney, Randy Moore — who has not returned recent calls for comment — said in a February interview that the incident was a tragic traffic accident and that Delgado was not recklessly speeding.

“There were allegations that either she was racing her car down the roadway or that she was going at speeds of 90 mph and all of those allegations have triggered the prosecution in this case. It’s not true that she was racing,” Moore said in the interview. “This was just an accident. It wasn’t gross negligence and it wasn’t criminal.”

bfoley@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco schools estimate $25m needed to close digital divide

Private donations being sought to fund internet access, technology

Retired officers seek end to decade-old age discrimination case

Retired officer Juanita Stockwell was 60 when she and her colleagues first… Continue reading

State officials sue Uber and Lyft for wage theft

California Labor Commissioner’s Office alleges ride-hail companies violating AB5

SFMTA Board passes ‘clean’ sales tax ballot measure to fund Caltrain

After a weeks-long impasse, tri-county leadership appears to have reached a compromise

Struggling Chinatown restaurants get help moving business outdoors

A total of $25,000 will be distributed to assist with costs of Shared Spaces program

Most Read