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Teen sentenced for crash that killed Tongan royals, driver

  • Story Highlights
  • Edith Delgado gets two years in county jail for July 5, 2006, collision
  • Delgado must also pay restitution to the victims' families
  • Prosecutors allege that Delgado was racing another driver before the crash
  • Delgado's car sideswiped SUV carrying Tongan prince and princess
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REDWOOD CITY, California (AP) -- A teenage motorist convicted of causing a freeway collision that killed two members of Tonga's royal family and their driver has been sentenced to two years in county jail.


Edith Delgado, center, walks into a Redwood City, California, courtroom Friday.

Edith Delgado, now 19, broke into tears in the packed courtroom Friday when San Mateo County Judge John W. Runde read the sentence.

She had faced a maximum of three years after being convicted in June of misdemeanor manslaughter and acquitted of more serious felony charges.

Prosecutors alleged that Delgado was racing another driver on July 5, 2006, when she sideswiped a Ford Explorer on a highway about 30 miles south of San Francisco.

The Explorer flipped and rolled over several times, killing Tonga's Prince Tu'ipelehake, 55; his wife, Princess Kaimana Aleamotu'a Tuku'aho, 46; and their driver, Vinisia Hefa, 36, of East Palo Alto.

Delgado, of Redwood City, will receive credit for the year she already spent in county jail as well as for her good behavior as an inmate. She will probably spend another four to six months in jail, prosecutors said.

In addition, she was ordered to pay restitution of an undetermined amount to the victims' families and serve three years of supervised probation.

Prosecutor Aaron Fitzgerald, who had sought a 30-month sentence, said he agreed with the judge's decision. Video See reactions to the sentence »

"The sentence of two years reflects the seriousness of the offense," Fitzgerald said. "In this case, we have the deaths of three perfectly innocent victims."

Defense attorney Randy Moore said he believed the sentence was too harsh.


"I don't think it serves anyone's interest for this 19-year-old girl to spend more time in jail," he said. "My client was convicted of an accident."

The prince and princess had traveled to the San Francisco Bay area to discuss political reforms in the tiny South Pacific nation with members of the region's Tongan community. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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