Tongan royals killed in Menlo Park crash


The three people who died Wednesday night in a crash on Highway 101 in Menlo Park included two members of the Tongan royal family, several sources have confirmed.

Prince Tu’ipelehake and his wife, Princess Kaimana, died in the accident, it was confirmed by a foreign affairs spokesman for the New Zealand National Party.

Prince Tu’ipelehake was a nephew of the King of Tonga.

“Their deaths will come as a shock to the people of Tonga, as they have to me,” said spokesman John Hayes. “The prince was chair of Tonga’s committee looking at democracy and political reform.”

Mr. Hayes said he met with the prince recently when he was in New Zealand to consult with the local Tongan community on that issue.

“His passing is a serious blow to Tonga and the wider region,” said Mr. Hayes.

The third person killed in the accident was Vinisia Hefa, 36, of East Palo Alto, who was driving a red Ford Explorer carrying the prince and princess, the Associated Press reported.

The crash happened shortly before 9 p.m. near Willow Road when Edith Delgado, 18, of Redwood City was driving a white 1998 Ford Mustang north at what police investigators say was a high rate of speed and struck the red 1998 Ford Explorer with the Tongan royals.

The Explorer, moving toward the right shoulder, overturned an unknown number of times and landed on its roof, California Highway Patrol Officer Ricky Franklin said.

Delgado was arrested at the scene and could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, police investigators said.

Franklin reported today that Delgado "just got her license in February," but has no prior arrests and a clean driving record.

According to Franklin, the driver of a black Cadillac Escalade that exited at Marsh Road might have either seen or been involved with the collision.

Officers continue to investigate the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP in Redwood City at (650) 369-6261.


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