Two Members of Tonga Royal Family Killed in California Wreck

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Two members of Tonga's royal family were killed when a teenager racing her car crashed into their sport utility vehicle, authorities said Thursday.

The San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault would not release the names of the crash victims, but he said a 56-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman killed in the crash Wednesday night were members of the Tongan royal family.

"Out of respect for the Tongan culture and Tongan government, we are not going to release the names until the Tongan government has done the proper protocols of notification," Foucrault said.

The driver of the red Ford Explorer carrying the two also was killed, the California Highway Patrol said.

Edith Delgado, 18, of Redwood City, allegedly was racing her car at speeds up to 100 mph on a highway in Menlo Park, about 25 miles south of San Francisco, when she tried to pass the SUV the royal couple was traveling in, said highway patrol Officer Ricky Franklin.

Delgado's car slammed into the driver's side of the Explorer, causing it to swerve across several lanes before tumbling to a stop on its roof, Franklin said.

CountryWatch: Tonga

Delgado, who was not injured, was jailed on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and engaging in a speed contest, Franklin said.

Tonga — a 170-island archipelago about halfway between Australia and Tahiti — has a population of about 108,000 and an economy dependent on pumpkin and vanilla exports, fishing, foreign aid and remittances from Tongans abroad.

Now the last monarchy in the Pacific, Tonga has been a Polynesian kingdom and a protectorate of Britain, from which it acquired independence in 1970. It is ruled by 87-year-old King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.