Edith Delgado, Randy Moore, Prince Tu'ipelehake, Princess Kaimana
Paul Sakuma  /  AP
Edith Delgado, center, is led away from a Redwood City, Calif., courtroom on Friday after she received a two-year sentence for a freeway crash that killed Tongan Prince Tu'ipelehake and his wife, Princess Kaimana.
updated 8/25/2007 8:47:58 AM ET 2007-08-25T12:47:58

A teenage motorist convicted of causing a freeway collision that killed two members of Tonga’s royal family and their driver was sentenced to two years in county jail on Friday.

Edith Delgado, now 19, broke into tears in the packed courtroom 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 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 likely 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.

Edith Delgado, Prince Tu'ipelehake, Princess Kaimana
Linny Folau  /  AP file
Tongan Prince Tu'ipelehake, top, and his wife, Princess Kaimana, lower, in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, are shown in this July 4, 2006, file photo.

Prosecutor Aaron Fitzgerald, who had sought a 30-month sentence, said he agreed with the judge’s decision.

“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.

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