Bad choices, bad consequences.
July 8, 2006 12:00 PM   Subscribe

You're 18. You got your driver's license in February, and you just graduated from high school. Last Wednesday night you're zooming down Hwy 101 at 100 mph, racing another car, and you smash into the side of an SUV, killing all three people inside.Turns out two of them were Prince Tu’ipelehake and Princess Kaimana Aleamotu’a Tuku’aho of the Tonga royal family, the only royal monarchy left in the Pacific. Now an entire nation is is mourning and your bail is $3 million.
posted by gottabefunky (192 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
With all due respect, why is your bail set higher for royalty than for anyone else?
posted by jokeefe at 12:08 PM on July 8, 2006


If convicted of the three manslaughter counts, Delgado faces up to eight years in prison, Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.

Eight years for killing three people seems a little light. She'll have taken more than eight years of total life from her three victims before three years has passed. Not to mention that you can get more than that just for carrying a large enough quantity of drugs.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:13 PM on July 8, 2006


.
posted by terrapin at 12:17 PM on July 8, 2006


That's exactly what I was thinking, jokeefe. This sucks, and a horrible thing happened- this girl's life is ruined, she's killed three people- but it's not more tragic than if it had been 3 ordinary people. Plus, if it's "up to" an 8 year sentence... the $3m bail seems WAY too high. The whole point of bail is to create a disincentive to running from the punishment.

On the flip side- this is why suicide was invented. This poor girl made one mistake, and at 18 is over. She's done. Her life is off the rails now, and she'll never recover from this. She should just end it, that's the best thing she can do for herself: bring that death count to 4.
posted by hincandenza at 12:19 PM on July 8, 2006


but presumably it was unintentional, and they're probably a bit more lenient for that sort of thing; not to defend her, the girl is a total asshole for street racing, which itself ought to carry a much larger penalty than it does (i'm not sure about california laws, but here in bc, they're pretty lenient on street racers).
I blame the fast and the furious.
posted by wumpus at 12:19 PM on July 8, 2006


Royal people are better. Especially real, proper royal people like these that actually rule without any of that consent of the governed nonsense or bothersome elections for anything. Killing noble people is worse than killing common crap like you or me, and killing royal despots is the worst of all.

People get killed by idiot teens driving too fast every day. I also hope that this teen's treatment is identical to what she would have gotten if she'd slammed into a pickup with three Mexican illegals in it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:20 PM on July 8, 2006


Why should she kill herself? She already made bad choices, no need to add to the pile.

Does she have a myspace account? That seems like an obligatory post for young lawbreakers.
posted by Frank Grimes at 12:21 PM on July 8, 2006


I had a friend in high school who fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a car, killing two children, but not their mother. He didn't get any time, but he was never the same after that.

Having killed the people is punishment enough.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:22 PM on July 8, 2006


Having killed the people is punishment enough.

agreed, outrage aside we often overlook the psychological impact of crime, and often it is more than enough punishment for the offender.
posted by sourbrew at 12:26 PM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


How is her life over? She's young; it's quite likely that she'll serve her time, get out, and lead a normal life.
posted by jayder at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2006


On the flip side- this is why suicide was invented. This poor girl made one mistake, and at 18 is over. She's done. Her life is off the rails now, and she'll never recover from this. She should just end it, that's the best thing she can do for herself: bring that death count to 4.

What the hell? I guess at 18 you don't have much perspective, but eight years is not that long at all. She'll be 26 when she gets out, as old as I am now. And that's the max she'll get. Seriously, WTF?

here is her myspace, for those who asked.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 PM on July 8, 2006


It doesn't appear that you read your own link. She did not "smash into the side of the Explorer". According to the article "While changing lanes north of Willow Road, Delgado allegedly clipped the driver side of the royals' red 1998 Ford Explorer. The collision caused the Explorer to swerve out of control, roll several times and land on its roof in the right shoulder of the highway, killing everyone inside." She is still clearly at fault, but it's not like she t-boned them.

Also, if the nation of Tongo is in morning, it is due to the rotation of our planet, not sadness. Mourning? Now that's another thing entirely.

For the record, I'm against motor-vehicle homicide regardless of the driver or their victim(s). I realize that is probably a controversial position to take.
posted by spock at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2006


Seriously, WTF?

Trying to understand the way this guy's mind works is a waste of your time.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:31 PM on July 8, 2006


ROU_xenophobe --

Not to rush to the defense of the dead royals or anything, but having read your line about "consent of the governed nonsense or bothersome elections," I learned in one of the linked articles that the Prince is known as a reformer who was studying the possibility of democratic reforms.

I encourage you to check out the links; they're interesting.
posted by jayder at 12:33 PM on July 8, 2006


sourbrew: agreed, outrage aside we often overlook the psychological impact of crime, and often it is more than enough punishment for the offender.

Well, that depends on the offender. Some are sociopaths who just plain don't care about anyone they hurt or kill. Also, some people rationalize their actions away, or are apathetic enough to not think about it most of the time. You can't count on this sort of thing.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:34 PM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


I got no sympathy for idiots with cars. 8 years is way too low, imo.

bad choices

Bad choices? WTH? Ordering a 13 chili meal at Salad King is a bad choice. Making a conscious effort to race 100mph on a highway that causes you to kill 3 people is a little more severe than that.
posted by dobbs at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2006


>>Having killed the people is punishment enough.

For someone with a well-developed sense of right and wrong, perhaps, but looking at the facts presented in the story, it seems as though this person has no sense of the ramifications of her actions, which indicates that she probably has no such conscience. This is her chance to develop one, albeit in a trial by fire.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:44 PM on July 8, 2006


if this were a story about handguns, there would be talk of handgun reforms.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2006


I think her Bizarro punishment should be that from now on the only way she can get around by any vehicle is if she's dragged by said vehicle. Otherwise she walks. Forever.
posted by furtive at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2006


If this happened in Iraq, and was posted here, some people would be obliged to ask why some other people hate Bush, America.
posted by Balisong at 12:59 PM on July 8, 2006


Hopefully, people will read about this tragedy and decide that street racing is as stupid as everyone says. Except the Prince and Princess of Tonga and their driver of course, because they're dead. Sadly, showing what not to do is a highly effective way to demonstrate things.
posted by Ohdemah at 1:01 PM on July 8, 2006


>>>here is her myspace, for those who asked.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 PM PST on July 8 [+fave] [!] --

Oh, lordy, too amazing, what a find. She has a pictures of her favorite cars up, and looks about 12 years old, and has typical teen posts in her "comments" section like "Shit Happens." Maybe we should raise the driving age to 25. I have a 17 year old foster child and can't imagine him being able to safely drive a car (he doesn't have a license or drive now).
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 1:02 PM on July 8, 2006


Why is no one failing to ask why royalty are driving around in a 1998 Ford Explorer. I don't think the Prince of Wales rolls in that.
posted by geoff. at 1:04 PM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


The $3 million bail is an empty gesture really, no biggie. However, along the same lines as furtive, the bizarro policy change would be that every teen's first car has to be a tiny low-performance wussy car, like a Pontiac Firefly or something.
posted by freakystyley at 1:08 PM on July 8, 2006


I learned in one of the linked articles that the Prince is known as a reformer who was studying the possibility of democratic reforms.

But studying the possibility of reforms makes it sound like it's something beyond rocket science. How fucking hard is it to say "This prime minister I've been appointing? You elect him. Choose wisely." Or to grab any of a vast array of successfully democratic constitutions and use it. Still, I suppose an arguably reluctant despot with notions of democratization is better than the Sun King.

Meh. It's weird that a random car crash can take out that much of a royal family, but it's still no more unfortunate than if she'd gotten random schmoes killed. I wonder what would have happened if an SUV driven by Tongan royalty had sideswiped oncoming traffic and caused a few deaths.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2006


Delgado, who recently graduated from high school, was not injured in the crash.

How does this happen? From a physics standpoint? I mean, a Mustang vs. an SUV... maybe she was unharmed because she struck the side of the SUV? Might the casualties have been different if it were a head-on collision?
posted by Robson at 1:19 PM on July 8, 2006


She won't get eight years. But if she was doing 100 mph, she'll do some hard time for sure. People tend to be a bit shocked at how little time wreckless drivers usually do unless they're drunk, but from the legal view you're already playing Russian roulette just by being in a motor vehicle. Everyone is "at fault" so to speak before an accident even happens, at least in the American legal and police view.

And yeah, if she was street racing, she should do time. (Although she might wish she'd had the accident before she turned 18.)

And I got my license at 16 and have never been in an accident. The driving age used to be 14 in some states. Which is just to say, if your kid is immature or a delinquent, don't let them get a license or a car. Don't punish the ones (like me) who needed a vehicle to get to school and to work. And to land lots of babes with my mom's Honda Civic, of course.
posted by bardic at 1:23 PM on July 8, 2006


Robson, as others have mentioned, she clipped the SUV, didn't T-bone it. Huge difference.
posted by bardic at 1:24 PM on July 8, 2006


So if she was an anguished democrat who decided to assassinate the despotic royals, she'd get more than eight years?
posted by A189Nut at 1:27 PM on July 8, 2006


IMHO any moving violation by a minor should result in temporary suspension of the license and traffic school. There are some good drivers out there under 18, but a lot of shitty ones too who have no business maneuvering Escalades through thick, fast traffic, especially near myself or any of my own family members.

Yeah, I realize she's 18. Wanna bet she's been pulled over before?
posted by rolypolyman at 1:27 PM on July 8, 2006


I was reading my copy of the constitution, and it says in there "Excessive bail shall not be required…"

Is that in anybody else's copy?
posted by Jatayu das at 1:34 PM on July 8, 2006


Her MySpace page has been made over to look all sweet-little-girl. No more cars, no more "shit happens". Kissy lips, glittery stuff, pinkpinkpink.

However...

Status: Single
Orientation: Straight
Hometown: EAST PALO ALTO
Body type: 5' 5"
Religion: Catholic
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Smoke / Drink: Yes / Yes
Children: Undecided
Education: High school
Income: $100,000 to $150,000

She's, uh, 18, right? Smoking, okay. Drinking...still against the law for under-21s. Way to go, Edith!

Ah, well, you know what they say about good judgment:
"Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment".

Hell of a way to learn a lesson.

One other thing that was interesting on her MySpace, to me, at least: The little blurb that says "[blah's] interests" and leads to all of the music, movies, tv, &c. is filled only with pictures of her (and her with friends). So, one can surmise that Edith's interests are Edith, Edith, more Edith, and people who like Edith.

On that note...prison will be very educational for this young lady, I do believe.
posted by batmonkey at 1:34 PM on July 8, 2006


Plenty of awful drivers are well past their teenage years. Punish bad drivers uniformly (and making public transportation a viable option for more Americans would be nice as well).
posted by bardic at 1:35 PM on July 8, 2006


Unless the girl is wealthy, $3 million for bail does sound ridiculous. -- even with what I think is the 10% needed for a bail bondsman. It merely intended to deter flight and yes it sure looks like the high bail is "for show."

That being said, comments like this always amaze me (oh noes, she/he would never do anything like that!):

Alejandra Arce, 25, of East Palo Alto, a friend of the family's who came to the courthouse to show support, said she could not believe accusations that Delgado was racing.

"We know she's not like that,' Arce said.


Apparently, she is. Though it is a bit surprising that a girl was drag racing. It's usually boys who find themselves in all kinds of driving troubles, hence the high insurance rates for boys.

This a shame all around, but she did kill two people. I don't think she's going to totally avoid some jail time.
posted by bim at 1:35 PM on July 8, 2006


I don't care who she killed. There's no question that she was driving recklessly and people are dead because of it. Eight years is bullshit.

I used to hate civil suits, but I hope there's one here. So that every shitty job she has after she gets out of jail goes to further the coffers of Togo's next despot.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:36 PM on July 8, 2006


wumpus writes "I blame the fast and the furious"

Yes, because no one _ever_ got a Mustang up to 100 on the 101 before TFTF was released.

jayder writes "I learned in one of the linked articles that the Prince is known as a reformer who was studying the possibility of democratic reforms."

I'd have Sir Humphrey Appleby all over it.
posted by Mitheral at 1:38 PM on July 8, 2006


bim writes "This a shame all around, but she did kill two people. I don't think she's going to totally avoid some jail time."

Three.
posted by Mitheral at 1:44 PM on July 8, 2006


18th birthday. almost ready to kill some royals.
posted by HAMFIST at 1:45 PM on July 8, 2006


Togo is in Africa.
posted by bardic at 1:46 PM on July 8, 2006


That she took three lives is punishment enough?? Bullshit. I can't believe I heard that.

Tell that to someone who's lost a relative to a drunk driver.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:47 PM on July 8, 2006


Yep, make that THREE dead. Thanks, Mitheral. :)
posted by bim at 1:47 PM on July 8, 2006


Is Togo sitting on an oil field?
posted by bim at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2006


Drinking...still against the law for under-21s. Way to go, Edith!

OMG SOMEONE UNDER 21 LIKES TO DRINK!

She's old enough to kill royalty, but not old enough to drink.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2006


Tonga is in the Pacific
posted by goo at 1:50 PM on July 8, 2006


How did they figure out how fast she was going? Did she tell them?
posted by haikuku at 1:53 PM on July 8, 2006


Togo doesn't have oil.
posted by bim at 1:55 PM on July 8, 2006


I imagine the person she was racing against has a good idea how fast she was going.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:56 PM on July 8, 2006


Country profile of Tonga as backgrounder and for people like Mayor Curley with no geographic skills or spelling skills or both.
posted by vacapinta at 1:56 PM on July 8, 2006


Having killed the people is punishment enough.

No, it's not.

If she gets and serves the maximum sentence, she'll be 26 or 27 when she gets out. Plenty of time to continue her life. The three folks she killed won't get that chance. Eight years isn't nearly long enough.

As an aside, we have statutory minimums for minor crimes that are far longer than the maximum sentence for unintentionally killing three people while speeding, racing, and driving recklessly. Why is that?
posted by FormlessOne at 1:57 PM on July 8, 2006


Drinking...still against the law for under-21s. Way to go, Edith!
[...]
[O]ne can surmise that Edith's interests are Edith, Edith, more Edith, and people who like Edith.


There's no need to get all hunt-the-witch. How about just judging her on the fact of what happened?
posted by Firas at 1:57 PM on July 8, 2006


As an aside, we have statutory minimums for minor crimes that are far longer than the maximum sentence for unintentionally killing three people while speeding, racing, and driving recklessly. Why is that?

Politicians.
posted by Firas at 1:58 PM on July 8, 2006


38 years ago, when I got my license, there wasn't any way to keep kids from racing, except by curfew and heavy law enforcement. The latter saved my butt, more than once, when I was a 16 year old shavetail with 300 horsepower under my damn lead foot. Thanks again, Officers Shelbourne and Mayfair, our town cops in a little town in eastern Kansas.

But today, nearly every car has an engine management computer, with enough CPU and memory to interface with a card reader, into which your license could go to start and operate the vehicle. Less than 21 years old, and less than 5 years accident free driving experience? You get fuel flow and rev limits and a maximum speed of 55 mph, and a midnight curfew (time being picked up by the car from WWV Bureau of Standards station). Over 21, more than 5 years experience, but more than 3 points on your license? You get a 65 mph limit. Over 21, more than 5 years, no record? Let 'er rip, 'cause you've got sense enough not to do it where you can't keep it under control.

But for this kid? She ought to get a fair trial. If guilty, she ought to do hard time, and she ought to have some heavy duty restrictions thereafter with regards to operating motor vehicles.
posted by paulsc at 1:58 PM on July 8, 2006


And that's Tonga not Togo. Yikes! Sorry about that.
posted by bim at 2:00 PM on July 8, 2006


There's no need to get all hunt-the-witch. How about just judging her on the fact of what happened?

Because her lawyer will certainly use character as a way to get her bail and punishment reduced.

Outside the courtroom, San Jose attorney Randy Moore, hired by Delgado's family, said he would fight the bail amount. He described Delgado as a model teenager caught up in a tragic accident that has left her frightened, tearful and sorry for those who died.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:00 PM on July 8, 2006


we have statutory minimums for minor crimes that are far longer than the maximum sentence for unintentionally killing three people while speeding, racing, and driving recklessly. Why is that?

Because if people do drugs, someoe might get hurt.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:01 PM on July 8, 2006


You get fuel flow and rev limits and a maximum speed of 55 mph, and a midnight curfew

No grease on that slope, no sir.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:02 PM on July 8, 2006


"But today, nearly every car has an engine management computer, with enough CPU and memory to interface with a card reader, into which your license could go to start and operate the vehicle. Less than 21 years old, and less than 5 years accident free driving experience? You get fuel flow and rev limits and a maximum speed of 55 mph, and a midnight curfew (time being picked up by the car from WWV Bureau of Standards station). Over 21, more than 5 years experience, but more than 3 points on your license? You get a 65 mph limit."

Good thing teenagers don't know anything about computers, or that would be a recipe for an underground network of kids with laptops hooked into their cars' computers trying to tune them to go faster.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:06 PM on July 8, 2006


How does this happen? From a physics standpoint? I mean, a Mustang vs. an SUV... maybe she was unharmed because she struck the side of the SUV? Might the casualties have been different if it were a head-on collision?

Despite their heft and commensurate reputation for safety in a collision, SUVs have soft suspensions and high centers of gravity. They are difficult to maneuver in an emergency situation and they like to flip, which is what happened here.
posted by LordSludge at 2:12 PM on July 8, 2006


I imagine the person she was racing against has a good idea how fast she was going.

Isn't that person also partially responsible for the deaths?
posted by zarah at 2:13 PM on July 8, 2006


OT, but most Brits will know this alleged story.

hen Prince Philip wedded Britain's future queen, Elizabeth II, in November of 1947, the guests included the queen of Tonga, whose South Pacific island nation was part of the British Empire. The queen of Tonga was an enormous woman. She rode in an open carriage in the wedding procession, and a tiny companion sat beside her. Philip recalled that when her carriage passed the point where Noel Coward was watching the procession, someone asked, "Who is that person riding with the queen of Tonga?" The British playwright, wit and raconteur replied, "Lunch!"
posted by A189Nut at 2:20 PM on July 8, 2006


Bardic, having beein in that accident, she most certainly isn't a wreckless driver. (Sorry, pet peeve #563)
posted by emelenjr at 2:20 PM on July 8, 2006


"No grease on that slope, no sir."
posted by Kwantsar at 5:02 PM EST on July 8


Operation of a vehicle on any public road in any state in the U.S. is a limited, revocable privilege, not a right. What slope are you talking about?

"Good thing teenagers don't know anything about computers, or that would be a recipe for an underground network of kids with laptops hooked into their cars' computers trying to tune them to go faster.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:06 PM EST on July 8


As for teenagers, or anybody else, modding engine management systems to defeat license class restrictions, it's not trivial to do on a lot of cars, and it could be made technically more difficult on all, and carry a stiff penalty. If you stop 90% of 18 to 21 year old kids racing on public roads, is it worth it?
posted by paulsc at 2:22 PM on July 8, 2006


paulsc: But today, nearly every car has an engine management computer, with enough CPU and memory to interface with a card reader, into which your license could go to start and operate the vehicle. Less than 21 years old, and less than 5 years accident free driving experience? You get fuel flow and rev limits and a maximum speed of 55 mph, and a midnight curfew (time being picked up by the car from WWV Bureau of Standards station). Over 21, more than 5 years experience, but more than 3 points on your license? You get a 65 mph limit. Over 21, more than 5 years, no record? Let 'er rip, 'cause you've got sense enough not to do it where you can't keep it under control.

Oh, man, there is SO much wrong with that.

First of all, curfews are bullshit. Total and complete bullshit. If you cannot even be outside some of the time, you have NO business saying that you live in a free country. They're unconstitutional, ethically wrong, and they don't help stop crime.

Secondly, having people forced to go 55 and 65 on an interstate will destroy the flow of traffic on an epic scale. It will cause far more accidents than any such system would prevent, and it would cause traffic jams everywhere.

Third, are you going to force everyone to retrofit their vehicles? Lots of people are driving 10-20 year old vehicles that function well (particularly if carefully maintained.) If you do, that's a huge expense that will piss everyone off. If you don't, then you are applying legal restrictions to only some people, which is a violation of equal protection under the law.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:26 PM on July 8, 2006


DieHipsterDie writes "I imagine the person she was racing against has a good idea how fast she was going"

They didn't catch that person.

haikuku writes "How did they figure out how fast she was going? Did she tell them?"

Someone(s) probably saw her. The number is therefor unreliable (most people have no idea how fast 100mph looks) yet not unrealistic.

paulsc writes "You get fuel flow and rev limits and a maximum speed of 55 mph, and a midnight curfew (time being picked up by the car from WWV Bureau of Standards station). Over 21, more than 5 years experience, but more than 3 points on your license? You get a 65 mph limit. Over 21, more than 5 years, no record? Let 'er rip, 'cause you've got sense enough not to do it where you can't keep it under control."

Few problems I can see:
1) a car limited to 55 on a freeway with a posted speed of 70 (and traffic therefor probably averaging 75) is a hazard.
2) what happens when the time system fails out in the desert or something and someone dies?
3) lots of cars on the road have no computers or very rudimentry computers. So you are telling 18-21 year olds that they can sign up to get shot at but can't buy a 65 Mustang? I realise this may not sound batty because you already have that situation with alcohol but it sounds crazy from up here.
4) low speed limits like that mean that safe passing is impossible.
5) easily defeated by either hacking the boxes or something as crude as a set of tall tires or a diff change.
6) finally, large distributed computing systems are tough at the best of times, I can't imagine anyone taking on the task of coming up with secure interface boxes for literally hundreds (thousands?) of different types of EMCs made by dozens of manufacturers. Let alone driver's license infrastructure.
posted by Mitheral at 2:26 PM on July 8, 2006


well, it's a tragedy all around, and she'll be punished for it...hopefully the other driver is found and can be punished just as harshly...

...but i think the high-horse pose here trends hypocritical...if you've lived any kind of life, at some point you've done something idiotic that could potentially have resulted in the loss of human life...

...and of course it is presumptuous to say that this girl's life has no value at this point...it's possible--even more so given the attention on this case--that she will have an opportunity examine her life in a way that her conscience-free generational brothers and sisters will get by without, and she might offer some service to society beyond the tragic lesson resulting from her actions...every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around, as someone said...
posted by troybob at 2:28 PM on July 8, 2006


It's weird that a random car crash can take out that much of a royal family, but it's still no more unfortunate than if she'd gotten random schmoes killed.

Actually, it is more unfortunate because of the popularity of the people killed. If it were three random schmoes who died, then only a few people would be mourning. But because these people were revered by the Tongan people, today thousands are sad. That's a significant difference.

"In visiting Tongan communities in the Bay Area and Seattle, the couple were leading a historic effort to develop a blueprint for a more democratic Tongan government."

"When Tongan civil servants went on strike last year, the prince sat with protesters opposing his uncle, King Taufa'ahau."

Sounds to me like they were pretty good people. What a sad tragedy.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:28 PM on July 8, 2006


"Her MySpace page has been made over to look all sweet-little-girl. No more cars, no more "shit happens". Kissy lips, glittery stuff, pinkpinkpink."

[Put's San Jose attorney Randy Moore's name in rolodex.]
posted by klarck at 2:32 PM on July 8, 2006



Why is no one failing to ask why royalty are driving around in a 1998 Ford Explorer.


Or who gave an 18 year old a Mustang.
posted by dilettante at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2006


i'm surprised this happened on 101. i have been driving 880 every workday for the last 5 years and believe me i have seen some crazy shit. mile-long motorcycle wheelies. gangs of rice-rocket bikers terrorizing people. dudes weaving in and out of traffic 30mph faster than the average. i got hit by a full bottle of water the other day. luckily it didnt break the windshield.

i think its kind of bogus that they raised her bail apparently because the victims were royals. i've never understood americans' preoccupation with royal types... preferential treatment for royalty is just about the most anti-american concept out there.

if she is guilty of this i hope she gets to think about it in jail for a long, long time. no one deserves to check out early because of some young punk a-hole.
posted by joeblough at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2006


Wait, who still harbors the notion that rich justice and plebeian justice are equal? Isn't the reality of the true situation part of the allure which makes so many of us raise the uber-rich onto a pedestal?

I always find it particularly galling when the malefactors in events such as this survive. The least that could happen to them is being trapped in a burning wreck and then surviving.
posted by Busithoth at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2006


Speculating as to whether or not the bail was set high as a means of keeping her in protective custody. The Bay Area is home to a large Tongan expat community, she just killed two apparently well-regarded Tongan royals and people are in mourning. Some individuals might be inclined to convert mourning into anger and do something regrettable. That county lockup is probably the safest place for her to be, right now.

It will probably get reduced in a few days, hopefully after passions have cooled a few degrees.
posted by dantsea at 2:39 PM on July 8, 2006


This poor girl made one mistake, and at 18 is over. She's done.

Maybe not. She could end up living in the White House.
posted by JackFlash at 2:39 PM on July 8, 2006


klarck, that's creepy. Seriously, they're literally trying to cover her tracks.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:41 PM on July 8, 2006


i think the high-horse pose here trends hypocritical

agreed, what she did was reprehensible, but eight years in prison isn't going to make up for what happened. It won't bring those who died back to life, and it will more than likely contribute to very real psychological problems for the girl. Coping with killing someone is not something that is easy to do for people who are not sociopaths.

My ex girlfriends little sister killed a woman her senior year of high school, crossed a lane in her suv and wound up in incoming traffic. She ended up with a reckless driving ticket, and no jail time, but she is not the same person. I don't envy what she deals with in her head.

[Put's San Jose attorney Randy Moore's name in rolodex.]

No joke, that was a good call on his part.
posted by sourbrew at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2006


I always find it particularly galling when the malefactors in events such as this survive. The least that could happen to them is being trapped in a burning wreck and then surviving.

really? cause people like this aren't always them....sometimes they are our families or friends, or ourselves...this is what you would have happen to your child, or a parent, or a friend who would make such a horrible choice?

it's strange to me...you would make that statement in the process of judging someone else, yet it condemns you more than it would this girl, who we could assume had no intention of actually harming someone else despite her poor judgment...
posted by troybob at 2:56 PM on July 8, 2006


She is still clearly at fault, but it's not like she t-boned them.

If she had, she'd be dead.

The driving age used to be 14 in some states.

There used to be no age restriction in Texas. I had a teacher in high school who got hers at 12, just so she could drive the ranch equipment for her parents.

i think its kind of bogus that they raised her bail apparently because the victims were royals. i've never understood americans' preoccupation with royal types... preferential treatment for royalty is just about the most anti-american concept out there.

It's always about show. The judge feels like he/she needs to make a statement, partially because of the victims, partially because of the age (and possibly race) of the alleged perp. This is a very high profile case because of the victims. If she had done the same thing to a school bus filled with orphaned children dying of cancer on their way to Disneyland, do you think that bail would "only" be $300K?

No joke, that was a good call on his part.

The cleaner missed a spot.
posted by dw at 2:58 PM on July 8, 2006


As a teenager I regularly raced at speeds well over 100mph. But, as a rule, we did most of our racing at a track. But I will admit that I've been stopped (and arrested) for going 3x the speed limit on a highway. Through good luck, happy fate, an in with Loki, something...I never got hurt and I never hurt anyone else.

Point being; kids do stupid stuff. Teenagers, whether they like it or not, are still kids. Giving teenagers cars capable of those speeds is really no different than giving them a loaded gun. Some kids will get lucky, some kids are amazing drivers, some kids are just freaking dangerous behind the wheel at 30mph, and some kids should never be given 350hp.

Although, to be honest, having driven performance cars for most of the last 20 years, I'm not sure that anyone, kid or not kid, should be allowed to buy one or drive one without taking specific driving instruction on how to handle a car at high speed. Nobody has ever purchased a 2000 Hennessey Viper Venom 800TT (0-60 in 2.7) so that they could drive 55. I also think that most passenger vehicles should be locked to go no faster than about 85. No reason on earth why Bob Normal needs to go 100 down the highway while talking on his cell phone, swatting the kids in the backseat and warming up a hotdog on the console range.

All that rant said; 3 million bail is egregious. I don't see how that could stand up on appeal. It's absurd. It's tragic that the Prince, Princess and their driver were killed. I feel great sympathy for the people they left behind. But as valuable as their lives were, they are not *more* valuable than any other random three people. So, either the judge is balmy, or he's set the bail so high because he's worried about her being killed by an upset Tongan and wants a way to keep her under state custody without starting a diplomatic problem.
posted by dejah420 at 2:58 PM on July 8, 2006


How terribly, terribly misfortunate for those people in the SUV.

Because everyone in the SUV was killed, though, it may be more difficult for both the defense and the prosecution to make their cases. Still, based on what the article says it seems probable that she could be found guilty of involuntary vehicular manslaughter.

The fact that she was doing 100 mph would amount to a fine of no more than $500 in California, though, with the court's option to suspend her license for no more than 30 days, assuming it would be her first conviction. It's an infraction, not even a misdemeanor.
posted by clockzero at 2:58 PM on July 8, 2006


How did they figure out how fast she was going? Did she tell them?

SCIENCE, of course!

(I have a relative who's an accident reconstruction police officer. Fairly common for larger departments, and if you don't have one, state troopers have special officers for it as well. Some of the physics are pretty basic: f=ma, etc., some of it is fairly beyond my meager brain, but it's interesting (and a bit morbid) nonetheless.)
posted by bardic at 3:07 PM on July 8, 2006


Because everyone in the SUV was killed, though, it may be more difficult for both the defense and the prosecution to make their cases.

Not really. You have a wreck of an SUV and the Mustang of the perp. All you have to do is find the spot where the nose clipped the SUV and match the paint/plastic/fiberglas residue.

On top of that, you have three autopsies, possibly some witnesses, and an entire crime scene filled with tire marks and broken pieces. There's plenty of evidence for both sides.

A few weeks ago we had a nasty crash on the West Seattle Freeway. It was closed for over seven hours (clear into the morning commute) because pieces of the car and its jetsam were strewn across all six lanes, and the police had to identify and catalog every piece. That car was doing in excess of 80. I would think you'd have a similar evidence spread with this accident.
posted by dw at 3:09 PM on July 8, 2006


"Her MySpace page has been made over to look all sweet-little-girl. No more cars, no more "shit happens". Kissy lips, glittery stuff, pinkpinkpink."

[Put's San Jose attorney Randy Moore's name in rolodex.]

I'd advise you not to, Klarck. There's still a couple of (ahem) smoking references and a photo with (likely) blunt in hand. Mr. Moore is snoozing on the job.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:21 PM on July 8, 2006


it may be more difficult for both the defense and the prosecution to make their cases.

First-hand accounts are not an issue in cases like this. Between (what's left of) the vehicles, skid marks, walls and trees and earth that's been torn up, a decent reconstruction specialist and his team can figure it out. And a lot of newer cars' computers will accurately register what a given vehicle's speed was at the time of impact.

Actually, witness accounts are important from third-parties, but not people within the vehicles in question themselves. But in any event, don't get in an accident. If it was your fault, get the best lawyer possible because they can tell pretty much everything about your speed, direction, and manner of driving. And good lord, don't be drunk--no punishment is too good for those bastards.
posted by bardic at 3:27 PM on July 8, 2006


Fool.

You can only kill royals during a revolution.
posted by HTuttle at 5:12 PM on July 8, 2006


The cleaner missed a spot.

Whatever you were referring to is also gone now...
posted by Kloryne at 5:24 PM on July 8, 2006


Whatever you were referring to is also gone now...

Just a pic of her Mustang under a caption I've now forgotten. It was something like "I love speed" or "my sweet ride" or "my car, which I've named Sic Semper Tyrannis."

And hey, the cleaner finally did his job. She's now a 14 year old named Lupe, and the profile is private.
posted by dw at 5:31 PM on July 8, 2006


The Prince looks like a good guy, who had a high reputation among his country's people as well as the ear and approval of the King (who can't be all bad if he lets such a man mediate a strike, or organize a constitutional convention). Let's hope that his death does not derail reforms in Tonga.

The tragedy here might not just be a couple of wealthy island royalty dying, but also a democratic process that they could have shepherded -- in which case this little girl has stolen something of great value.

$3 million isn't actually that out of line for serious felonies nowadays -- many people can get that just with a lien on the house. I know she won't serve as much time as she deserves, but this isn't usually a heavily punished crime; it's highly dependent on circumstances, which if shocking can intensify the penalty, say if she had killed some children. Royals, well, that's a huge embarassment, so maybe that's why they're treating this so severely. Tonga may not be all that big, but this is an "international incident".
posted by dhartung at 5:34 PM on July 8, 2006


Oh, I'm absolutely fascinated that people are catching on to the way that peoples' profiles get swarmed at times like this. From now on, MeFi Detective Team types will want to be saving copies when they hit this shit.
posted by dhartung at 5:36 PM on July 8, 2006


Bardic: "Robson, as others have mentioned, she clipped the SUV, didn't T-bone it. Huge difference."

She clipped an SUV at over a hundred miles an hour, which any physics professor would tell you is worse than T-boning it at 30mph. Just clipping the thing caused it to swerve out of control. Try it in a pool hall some time. Lightly tap on a ball head on, then try clipping that same ball really fast. See which one goes further, and more unpredictably.

Bim: "Though it is a bit surprising that a girl was drag racing."

An outdated, sexist assumption. Women are equally as capable as men in most if not all sports, given an equal chance to prove themselves. Insurance companies that increase rates for men over women should be shut down, if there were justice in the world, which there isn't.

Which is ultimately the revelation herein. It's impossible to properly convict this woman. No sentence properly fits the crime. In fact it can be argued that the murder wasn't a crime. Manslaughter. It was an accident. So is it wrong to lay blame at her feet for the deaths of those three people? And will punishing her keep this from ever happening again? Can it bring back those lost? Can amends ever be made? Can there be justice in this? The answer my friends is no. Simple. Argue all you want but there's no justice here.

She shouldn't have been racing. Period. But she did. She's not the first and most certainly won't be the last. This will continue, and no putting her behind bars is going to stop that.

No one should race in a public area where outsiders are at risk, but this happens all the time. In fact things are going on all the time in random places that could mean your death or the death of someone you know, and we are completely oblivious to such acts, because those who choose to break the law are not going to advertise about it. Even in myspace.com. At least not knowingly. Sometimes completely legitmate things are happening which a simple act of carelessness could briefly turn into bloodshed. Wrong place wrong time. Are the threesome guilty of bad luck?

Stars go supernova in outerspace all the time. There's no galactic police pulling them over. Things happen. Shit happens. Maybe we should stop looking for blame when things like this happen and just realize that shit happens. Trying to find justice in it is just perpetuating this illusion that human beings can affect control on each other and their environment, and they can't. It's absurd and pointless to want this woman to spend a single moment in jail. It won't prevent what happened. It won't prevent it from happening again.

Punishment of any kind is not a deterrent. Because most 18 year olds, female and male alike, think they are going to live forever. So a race in a public place? Not a big deal to some of them. And is that thought a crime? I don't even wanna go there.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on July 8, 2006


Yet another good reason for folks using myspace to be a bit circumspect. I can't believe the personal details that folks put up on their websites.
posted by bim at 5:43 PM on July 8, 2006


Isn't it a curious accident, killing royals ? Yeah there still are royals around the world, how curious..oh well there is also corporate iperpower so no wonder.

Anyway the problem is age old: irresponsible driver kill people. I don't see why a person killing person with a gun should be treated differently when he kills with a car, the end result is the same. Obviously the lack of will to kill is relevant when determining the punishment, yet as usual the person remain very dead.

The problem remains : how to neutralize or minimize the killing potential of a vehicle in the greates combination of circumstance possible.
posted by elpapacito at 5:45 PM on July 8, 2006




A few thoughts:

First, shouldn't the bail be set at $2.1 million? You know, $1 million a piece for the prince and princess and $100,000 for the commoner driver?

Secondly, she obviously wasn't just taking a leisurely drive, but I doubt if she was really "street racing" in the TFTF way that we think of it. I'd bet anything that she and the driver of the other car were just fucking around and one started chasing the other. Doesn't make the speeding and reckless driving any better, but it does remind us that she's a kid, and kids do stupid things while caught up in the spirit of being young. Also, of course she likes to drink, but if she were drunk at the time of the accident, we'd read it in the articles. Cops tend to check that at accident scenes.

Third, in my own drivers' ed, the first thing the teacher asked us was what the worst possible result of reckless driving was. Everybody shouted out, "I could get killed." The teacher responded, "no, you could kill someone else and survive."

Fourth, though the myspace page is restricted now, Income: 100,000-150,000? WTF? Is she counting Daddy's money as her own?

Fifth, involuntary manslaughter is bullshit as a punishable offense. There's no ammount of money or jailtime that will bring back the dead, or restore ballance to the force. She deserves something, of course, because she heedlessly broke the law, but saying that 8 years isn't long enough is just vengeful and sanctimonious. Just some questions on the matter, what is the current rate of recidivism for involuntary manslaughter in California? How long must she serve before she learns not to accidentally cause more death? How much time would she deserve if the Exploer hadn't flipped, and the passengers survived? What about if she barely missed them? Should every speeding accident be treated in this way, as it could have been fatal?

Finally, there are shitty drivers of every age, and responsible drivers of every age. The solution is to make the driving exams much more stringent, and require a new one in order to resister your new vehicle. That, and $3 million bail is just a great incentive for the other driver to stay hidden.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:56 PM on July 8, 2006


dejah420: Point being; kids do stupid stuff. Teenagers, whether they like it or not, are still kids. Giving teenagers cars capable of those speeds is really no different than giving them a loaded gun. Some kids will get lucky, some kids are amazing drivers, some kids are just freaking dangerous behind the wheel at 30mph, and some kids should never be given 350hp.

It's worth noting that the girl here was 18, and if 18 year olds can't be trusted with loaded weapons, someone really needs to inform the military.

On a side note, 18 year olds can hook themselves up with both loaded weapons (other than pistols) and sports cars without any external aid, if they can afford them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:05 PM on July 8, 2006


"Oh, man, there is SO much wrong with that."

No, there's not. As follows...:-)

"First of all, curfews are bullshit. Total and complete bullshit. If you cannot even be outside some of the time, you have NO business saying that you live in a free country. They're unconstitutional, ethically wrong, and they don't help stop crime."

Eh, curfew was probably not the word I was looking for. Sorry. Let's amend my proposal to say:

A person with a restricted class license can be outside all they want, but they can't drive a car from midnight to six a.m. If they have documented need, they can get an endorsement to their privileges, or a higher class license upon proof of competence, same as commercial drivers, or people wanting to operate non-passenger car vehicles do now.

"Secondly, having people forced to go 55 and 65 on an interstate will destroy the flow of traffic on an epic scale. It will cause far more accidents than any such system would prevent, and it would cause traffic jams everywhere."

Good point. New drivers don't really belong on interstate highways at rush hour. Maybe speed restricting them will make them think twice about getting out there. But if not, I'll observe that most interstates have minimums of 40 mph, and I routinely drive 55, and have for years, without causing epic traffic jams or accidents.

"Third, are you going to force everyone to retrofit their vehicles? Lots of people are driving 10-20 year old vehicles that function well (particularly if carefully maintained.) If you do, that's a huge expense that will piss everyone off. If you don't, then you are applying legal restrictions to only some people, which is a violation of equal protection under the law."

Nobody has to retrofit anything, but drivers with restricted licenses would only be allowed to operate vehicles with an approved system for controlling the vehicle per their license class. Just like people with hand control limits are required to only drive vehicles with operable hand controls, and just like I'm not allowed to drive any vehicle without my corrective lenses on. See, driving is a privilege, that can be restricted as needed to promote the public safety.

posted by Mitrovarr at 5:26 PM EST on July 8
posted by paulsc at 6:11 PM on July 8, 2006


Please tell me someone took screen captures of the MySpace profile.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:16 PM on July 8, 2006


As an aside, we have statutory minimums for minor crimes that are far longer than the maximum sentence for unintentionally killing three people while speeding, racing, and driving recklessly. Why is that?

Because we live in the Stupid Ages. Don't you watch Futurama?
posted by spazzm at 6:22 PM on July 8, 2006


First-hand accounts are not an issue in cases like this. Between (what's left of) the vehicles, skid marks, walls and trees and earth that's been torn up, a decent reconstruction specialist and his team can figure it out. And a lot of newer cars' computers will accurately register what a given vehicle's speed was at the time of impact.


Not really. You have a wreck of an SUV and the Mustang of the perp. All you have to do is find the spot where the nose clipped the SUV and match the paint/plastic/fiberglas residue.

But (presumably) nobody disputes that the accident took place. I don't think that's going to be a point of contention.

IANAL, but I would imagine that the defense would want, among other things, to cast doubt on the conjecture that the contact between the two vehicles led directly to the SUV flipping over; without the driver of the SUV's testimony, that's possibly harder to argue. The prosecution's case could also be weakened by that lack, since they can't offer any direct testimony to rebut any arguments that call into question the appropriateness of the driver's reactions to the impact, for example.
posted by clockzero at 6:29 PM on July 8, 2006


"Why is no one failing to ask why royalty are driving around in a 1998 Ford Explorer.

Or who gave an 18 year old a Mustang."


It's not like a special dispensation is needed to get a Mustang (or Ferrari, or Lamborghini, or name-your-favorite-car), you know. They pretty much can be had by anyone who has the means to meet the asking price.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:33 PM on July 8, 2006


paulsc: Good point. New drivers don't really belong on interstate highways at rush hour. Maybe speed restricting them will make them think twice about getting out there. But if not, I'll observe that most interstates have minimums of 40 mph, and I routinely drive 55, and have for years, without causing epic traffic jams or accidents.

Look, it's not just interstates, and it's not just rush hour. If I'm going 55 on a highway in Wyoming, where I live, I'm going to impede traffic to a lesser or greater degree and cause a lot of passing, making the situation less safe for everyone. If I'm going 55 on the interstate, I'm a rolling roadblock, causing high-speed passing and being in serious danger of a rear-end accident from someone going 80 and not paying attention. And I don't necessarily get to choose where I drive; if I have to go somewhere for school, work, family, or whatever reason, I have to take the roads that lead there. That might be interstates whether I'm 16 or 55.

As far as you not impeding traffic or causing accidents, I can tell plainly from the way you talk that you don't care at all about slowing people down. And as far as not causing accidents? YOU GOT LUCKY. I guarantee you I was less of a traffic hazard going 80 on the interstates at 20 than you were going 55, far outside the speed of traffic. What you propose doesn't push safety, it's just restrictive; you are just being hostile and attempting to push obnoxious restrictions on a group you dislike. If you were really pro-safety, you would have studied traffic engineering and you would know that everyone is safer if everyone goes the speed of traffic.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:34 PM on July 8, 2006


Zachsmind, I call bullshit twice:

Women are equally as capable as men in most if not all sports, given an equal chance to prove themselves.

No, as a girl, I guarantee you that men are better at sport. I remember being better than my little brother at everything until he was about 12 and I was 13. Nothing else changed, except he hit puberty, and all of a sudden he could beat me at everything. Now, I'm way better than the average woman at any sport I play - but I'd still be among the weakest players on any guys team. Guys on a mixed hockey team who've never played before can beat me because they're bigger and stronger, and a lot of the time that's all it takes.

Insurance companies that increase rates for men over women should be shut down, if there were justice in the world, which there isn't.

I'm pretty sure rates are higher for guys because of statistics like those I found here, which says that 42 of every 100,000 licensed men were in a crash in 2004, and only 15 of every 100,000 licensed women. But yea, keep telling yourself that they're just making that up!

Overall, your attitude is pretty weak. Shit happens. Kid drown in pools, why fence them? Kids die on the road, who cares? Kids die of malnutrition and AIDS in Africa, get over it. Which deaths do you think we should care about enough to try and change them? People steal, jailing the Enron guys won't stop that! The fact that some people will always make a bad decision does not mean you should simply accept their behaviour.
posted by jacalata at 6:42 PM on July 8, 2006


i have been driving 880 every workday for the last 5 years and believe me i have seen some crazy shit.

NO KIDDING--I am entirely aware, driving on California highways on a regular basis, that my life is in danger every time I'm on them. I have seen some unbelievable things--and I'm not talking about at midnight. I'm talking about 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon crazy fucking driving.

Believe it or not, jamming down 101 at 100mph isn't as crazily fast as might seem--in terms of absolute speed, it's obviously unsafe, but nearly all highway traffic (on 580, 880, 101, 99, 5, etc. etc.) out here is at 80 mph+ regularly. (When the traffic is moving, that is.)

My point is not that this girl's recklessness should be excused--far from it. My point is when are we going to get computer controlled cars??? I don't trust people to be consistently reliable and responsible ever, in any situation, certainly not in the free-for-all that are American highways. More than a quarter of a million people die on American highways every year. Those are preventable deaths. Recall how freaked out over seeing almost 3,000 people killed on 9/11 all of us were--what would be the impact of seeing 250,000 people die all at once, accident or no? We don't get too upset about highway fatalities because they happen in twos and threes, and are mostly local and thus invisible to the larger consciousness. But that doesn't change that a lot of people die, every year, in preventable events.

The problem is that, no matter the restrictions, people drive thoughtlessly--just like we do a lot of stuff thoughtlessly. Drive the same commuter route every day at 85 mph for a while, and see how sharp your attention stays. I'm not convinced that we should be given control of 2 tons of metal that can move at 80+ mph, jammed together on big roadways in barely controlled anarchy, with (let's face it, what in nearly all states amounts to) little or no training, in the first place. Germany can have its Autobahn because their drivers training/licensing procedure is much more comprehensive (18 minimum age, very thorough written and practical elements, cost is over 1,000 Euro, etc.), and the legal responsibility on drivers much more extensive than in the US--and even then there are regular fatalities.

I want my high-speed trains and computer-controlled cars, dammit. I don't trust the idiot kids, distracted SUV moms, angry alpha males, or any of the other idiots I have to share the roads with at all, and no system of restriction is ever going to bring reckless driving under control. People make bad choices on a regular basis--in all honestly, I'm stunned we have the (nearly) unrestricted right to make those bad decisions in a two-ton machine moving at high speeds.

I'm not afraid of terrorism--I'm afraid of California highways.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:44 PM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


jacalata: I'm pretty sure rates are higher for guys because of statistics like those I found here, which says that 42 of every 100,000 licensed men were in a crash in 2004, and only 15 of every 100,000 licensed women. But yea, keep telling yourself that they're just making that up!

Although that is true, that doesn't necessarily mean they should be allowed to use that to give men and women different rates. Say, for example, that statistically some other race had a higher accident rate than caucasians. Would it be acceptable to give them higher rates based on that information?

Personally, I don't think so; the problem with discrimination is that it assumes everyone from a group behaves the same. Just because men are more dangerous drivers than women, doesn't mean that I am a more dangerous driver than any given woman. I should not be discriminated against based on the tendencies of my gender, race, religions, or other such characteristics. Certainly, that is the policy that is legislated everywhere else in the US.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:50 PM on July 8, 2006


Look for some attention-seeking legislator to propose making speeding over a certain amount or racing at a speed over a certain amount to be a felony. When this happens, then the new felony can be deemed to be a felony that is inherently dangerous. If a person dies during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony, then the defendant can be charged with felony murder. Felony murder is much, much, much more serious than any degree of manslaughter. It can be a capital offense.
posted by flarbuse at 6:55 PM on July 8, 2006


No, as a girl, I guarantee you that men are better at sport.

I'm honestly surprised that anyone is arguing the opposite. Have you guys ever looked at the results of, say, a marathon? Or watched Olympic sports?
posted by danb at 7:03 PM on July 8, 2006


Mitrovarr, I could agree with an argument that the rates are discriminatory, however Zachsmind seemed to be saying that it was based on false assumptions, which is demonstrably not the case. But I think that it is reasonable to discriminate on some basis, for instance it makes sense for a kid or someone with a poor history to pay higher rates than an adult with a good history.
posted by jacalata at 7:06 PM on July 8, 2006


jacalata: But I think that it is reasonable to discriminate on some basis, for instance it makes sense for a kid or someone with a poor history to pay higher rates than an adult with a good history.

I do think it's acceptable to charge young drivers more, since although it would be wrong to discriminate against them based on their age alone, you can discriminate against them based on the length of time they have been driving. Basically, it's ok to discriminate against someone based on what they've done, just not what they are.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:20 PM on July 8, 2006


Although that is true, that doesn't necessarily mean they should be allowed to use that to give men and women different rates. Say, for example, that statistically some other race had a higher accident rate than caucasians. Would it be acceptable to give them higher rates based on that information?


I think this is a reasonable question, but race is not as meaningful a categorization as gender or age. You can't be simultaneously 18 and 75 years old, but you can be Chinese and European. And, perhaps more to the point, I suspect that in actuality, self-reported racial affiliation has almost no correlation with safety.

Personally, I don't think so; the problem with discrimination is that it assumes everyone from a group behaves the same.

I think the problem with discrimination is that it's used to mean "an unjust attitude or act, motivated by irrational bias", and has thus become utterly pejorative. To discriminate merely means to make a distinction. If that distinction is based on actual empirical evidence, like rigorous statistical analysis for example, I don't see how one could question its validity.

Just because men are more dangerous drivers than women, doesn't mean that I am a more dangerous driver than any given woman.

It does mean, though, that any given man is more likely to be a dangerous driver than any given woman, all other things being equal. Therein lies the rub.

I should not be discriminated against based on the tendencies of my gender, race, religions, or other such characteristics. Certainly, that is the policy that is legislated everywhere else in the US.

You're not being discriminated against, you're being differently evaluated for financial risk. Come on. It's not like anyone's refusing to hire you or preventing you from voting.
posted by clockzero at 7:27 PM on July 8, 2006


clockzero: You're not being discriminated against, you're being differently evaluated for financial risk. Come on. It's not like anyone's refusing to hire you or preventing you from voting.

Well, one could argue that anti-discrimination laws would take a very dim view of a conventional merchant who sold the same product to everyone, but charged african-americans 25% more than caucasians. Racial or gender discrimination can occur in greater or smaller amounts.

If that distinction is based on actual empirical evidence, like rigorous statistical analysis for example, I don't see how one could question its validity.

So, you support racial profiling, then? Would you support charging Arabs more for their airline tickets because statistically they are more likely to attack the plane, resulting in a huge loss for the airline? Part of the ticket cost is insurance, after all.

Also, what if statistics did support the concept that one race had substantially higher accident rates than the others? Would you support charging that race more on their insurace? It's exactly the same thing. Sure, you have blurred lines and such, but we'll ignore those for the moment.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:36 PM on July 8, 2006


It does mean, though, that any given man is more likely to be a dangerous driver than any given woman, all other things being equal. Therein lies the rub.

Now, try replacing "dangerous driver" with "criminal", "man" with "african american" and "woman" with "caucasian", and use that to argue for differential treatment.

Have fun.
posted by spazzm at 7:37 PM on July 8, 2006


ZachsMind writes "She clipped an SUV at over a hundred miles an hour, which any physics professor would tell you is worse than T-boning it at 30mph."

That's going to depend on the elasticity of the collision and the angles.

Navelgazer writes "Fourth, though the myspace page is restricted now, Income: 100,000-150,000? WTF? Is she counting Daddy's money as her own?"

Don't tell me you actually answer all those marketing questions honestly. I regularilly flip between starving student and 7 figure executive.

mr_crash_davis writes "They pretty much can be had by anyone who has the means to meet the asking price."

Or the no money down, 60 month lease payment.

jacalata writes "I'm pretty sure rates are higher for guys because of statistics like those I found here, which says that 42 of every 100,000 licensed men were in a crash in 2004, and only 15 of every 100,000 licensed women. But yea, keep telling yourself that they're just making that up!"

This is mostly a function of miles driven, men tend to drive way more than women and so have more accidents per year.
posted by Mitheral at 7:44 PM on July 8, 2006


Um, didn't our current First Lady kill somebody in a car accident a couple of decades ago? Did she get 8 years punishment? (No, but our country sure did!!)
posted by Ben Grimm at 7:58 PM on July 8, 2006


This is mostly a function of miles driven, men tend to drive way more than women and so have more accidents per year.

Then you can advocate for adjusting insurance premiums according to number of miles driven, and it will still be higher on average for men because they are still more likely to have an accident.
posted by jacalata at 8:00 PM on July 8, 2006


Well, one could argue that anti-discrimination laws would take a very dim view of a conventional merchant who sold the same product to everyone, but charged african-americans 25% more than caucasians. Racial or gender discrimination can occur in greater or smaller amounts.

Pardon the rhetoric jargon, but that seems like a reductio ad absurdum sort of thing to say. Of course, nobody but a racist would approve of arbitrary mistreatment like that, but it's not analogous to the situation we're discussing.

So, you support racial profiling, then? Would you support charging Arabs more for their airline tickets because statistically they are more likely to attack the plane, resulting in a huge loss for the airline? Part of the ticket cost is insurance, after all.

I don't think that Arabs actually are more likely to attack planes, though. The problem with racial profiling, aside from its considerable injustice when used as a tool of disenfranchisement or oppression, is that it's an unreliable method for assessing risk.

Also, what if statistics did support the concept that one race had substantially higher accident rates than the others? Would you support charging that race more on their insurace? It's exactly the same thing. Sure, you have blurred lines and such, but we'll ignore those for the moment.

You need to define "race" for this question to have any meaning.

Now, try replacing "dangerous driver" with "criminal", "man" with "african american" and "woman" with "caucasian", and use that to argue for differential treatment.

What exactly are you proposing here?
posted by clockzero at 8:20 PM on July 8, 2006


jacalata writes "Then you can advocate for adjusting insurance premiums according to number of miles driven, "

We should charge on miles driven (or better hours driven) both anually and cumulative because then it is insuring on actual risk and not membership in an arguably non-representitive group. Enforcement is tough though, we can't even keep the determined commercial drivers honest about hours driven. And even then though there isn't a strong correlation. I know guys with millions of kilometres and no accidents and other people who average one a year driving less than 10K per.
posted by Mitheral at 8:27 PM on July 8, 2006


A few engine controllers have a valet switch function for the kind of speed limiting being talked about here, but most do not.

This would not be a trivial addition to the ECM software, as serial data hooks and some kind of authentication system would also be needed - the actual speed limiting would be the easy part.

Most controllers I am familiar with use almost all available ROM memory, so there would be no space to add this without some feature/function crunching. Most controllers that are older than about 1994 model year do not have flashable memory, either.

What would we do about kids racing up to 55 in a 25 MPH zone ? It would be really expensive to add speed limit transmitters and in-vehicle receivers.
posted by rfs at 8:38 PM on July 8, 2006


This sudden launch into discriminating discrimination is a fair bit of a derail.

However, I think people who are arguing that sexism and racism are cut of the same cloth are severely misguided.

Statistics can't answer this debate; African Americans do seem more likely to commit crimes, men more likely to rape, asians more likely to go into mathematics, and women more likely to be homeworkers.

The reason we choose not act on some of these statistical observations is that some of them seem to be the result of a variety of factors incidentally related to some attribute (skin color, sex...), wheras some are directly tied to the attribute in question.

The reason we try to avoid discriminating with respect to race is that all the innate differences between races are now believed to be extremely superficial.

Anyone, however, who would argue that all the differences between men and women are purely superficial would find little support. Women and men are physiologically different in a number of important ways, and the evidence that there are innate differences in behavoir is very strong.

Because of this, those who discrimate with respect to sex can sometimes be considered doing so rightly. Are men more aggressive and reckless? It certainly seems to be so - and not simply for cultural/historical reasons. On the other hand, are women less intelligent, and say, less able to vote effectively then men? That does not seem to be the case, and people now for some time have agreed on this.
posted by Alex404 at 8:45 PM on July 8, 2006


I think that "250k killed on American highways each year" is off. I remember it being around 40k(still a large number).

Although I bet there are 250k people who are injured in car wrecks each year. And some of those are really special, like getting your knees crushed by the dashboard. Or having your feet broken by deformations of the footwell. Or the girl I knew that was in a Camaro that had a high speed wreck, and from the back seat ended up with one leg shoved under the front seat, her mangled foot sticking out into the front footwell.

Y'all seem like nice folks, so do your best to avoid car wrecks, OK?
posted by dglynn at 8:50 PM on July 8, 2006




Teenagers comprise less than seven percent of the total population but are involved in fourteen percent of all auto accidents.



Rest in peace Prince Tu'ipelehake, his wife Princess Kaimana and Vinisia Hefa who was driving.
posted by nickyskye at 8:51 PM on July 8, 2006


There are about 3 million car-related injuries a year, 2 million permanent injuries and 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The Department of Transportation's statistics indicate that accidents are generally related to irresponsible driving behavior. About 40% of fatalities are related to drinking and driving, 30% to speeding and about 33% from a car going off the road (these groups are not mutually exclusive). Seat belt use is only at about 68% nationally, despite it being a highly cost-effective means to prevent fatalities and serious injuries.
posted by nickyskye at 8:57 PM on July 8, 2006


jacalata: "No, as a girl, I guarantee you that men are better at sport."

Okay. Staying on topic here. Are you saying a man is a better driver than a woman? Maybe you're right when it comes to sports that deal primarily with upper body strength. When it comes to driving a car, I don't see logic to differentiating with regard to gender. The reason why there aren't as many women in racing is because until recent generations no one was cultivating the concept. This is slowly changing, but it's because they haven't been given equal opportunity, or encouraged equal interest in both genders, that we don't have as many women racing as men.

"The fact that some people will always make a bad decision does not mean you should simply accept their behaviour."

Again you're right. We'll never accept it.

We'll never change it either. So just keep on beating your head against that wall. Tylenol's in the medicine cabinet.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:59 PM on July 8, 2006


There are about 3 million car-related injuries a year, 2 million permanent injuries and 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

but burn an suv in a dealer's lot and you're a terrorist

is it just me, or are our perceptions really wacked?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 PM on July 8, 2006


The truck doesn't look to be very messed up. Were they wearing their seatbelts?

2nd, it drives me nuts how 90% of people react to a tragedy by wanting more and more restrictive laws. There are already laws in place, enforce them if they're reasonable and leave it at that. The emotional clammer for greater punishments generally have a negative effect on the freedom of law-abiding, and have a negligible effect on reckless or criminal behavior.
posted by knave at 9:19 PM on July 8, 2006


The reason why there aren't as many women in racing is because until recent generations no one was cultivating the concept. This is slowly changing, but it's because they haven't been given equal opportunity, or encouraged equal interest in both genders, that we don't have as many women racing as men.

Yes, it has nothing to do with testosterone, right? I think one of the biggest myths of this feminist generation is that men and women are created equal.
posted by knave at 9:21 PM on July 8, 2006


Interesting debate.

Personally I believe that internet access should be restricted for the overly haughty.

Vehicular manslaughter is bad, mmmkay? And punishing people who commit it not only prevents them from doing so again (certainly short-term, hopefully long-term) but also provides a disincentive to others. The last part is key.

This thread has more nuts that a jar of extra-chunky peanut butter.
posted by raider at 9:22 PM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


You're not being discriminated against, you're being differently evaluated for financial risk. Come on. It's not like anyone's refusing to hire you or preventing you from voting.

In some states you can't drive if you don't have insurance, and if you can't drive, how can you get a job (Or get to the polls easily)?

Um, didn't our current First Lady kill somebody in a car accident a couple of decades ago? Did she get 8 years punishment? (No, but our country sure did!!)

That's true, she killed her highschool sweetheart, but I don't think she was in a street race at the time

You need to define "race" for this question to have any meaning.

Suppose rather then some abstract concept of "race" we went directly by skin color. Yes, that can change day to day but not by all that much. If it turned out that demographically people with darker skin were more likely to get into car accidents, would you be OK with charging people more money based on that skin color?
The problem I have with that sort of methodology is that it punishes people based on what group they are in, not based on anything they did in particular, ultimately punishing them for things they have absolutely no control over.

I can't change the fact that I'm a man, and I can't change the driving behavior of any other men. I did do my fair share of reckless driving as a teenager though.
Really computer controlled roads would solve a lot of these problems. No more worrying about drunk drivers, either. I'm pretty confident that the accident rate would go way, way down.

By the way, did anyone else notice that none of the articles said she left the scene of the accident? She stayed behind after all of this happened, and that's pretty good on her part.
posted by delmoi at 9:27 PM on July 8, 2006


You have selected regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press 1.

So is the fault in driving dangerously or actually hitting someone? I don't think kids think about hitting someone. I suspect kids will continue to do stupid things. I know I did. Granted I didn't crash into members of the Tonga royalty. This is an accident tho. A very stupid, tragic one. And there should be punishment of course, but do we reward the kid who can handle speed better by not punishing that one as much as we do this one?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:32 PM on July 8, 2006


Smedleyman, we have a long history in this country of punishing people based on the results of their actions, not just their actions alone, so I'm venturing the answer to your question is yes. (Not opining one way or the other, I'm not sure how I feel about that, just stating the fact.)
posted by knave at 9:39 PM on July 8, 2006


It maybe that the suv had lowered tire pressure to improve the ride,that makes them very easy to roll. ford firestone
posted by hortense at 9:52 PM on July 8, 2006


The world will not be free until the last king is run over in an suv by the last priest.
posted by absalom at 9:57 PM on July 8, 2006


About 40% of fatalities are related to drinking and driving, 30% to speeding and about 33% from a car going off the road

In 2002, the Los Angeles Times examined accident data and estimated that in the previous year, of the 18,000 "alcohol-related" traffic fatalities drunk driving activists cited the year before, only about 5,000 involved a drunk driver taking the life of a sober driver, pedestrian, or passenger.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:58 PM on July 8, 2006


NHTSA then employs a methodology called "Multiple Imputation" to add in "drunk drivers" for drivers who have no known BAC level. This is done to drivers even though the police say a person was not drinking.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:03 PM on July 8, 2006


"...nothing to do with testosterone, right?"

Then what explains the success of drivers like Jeff Gordon, who's seriously lacking in testosterone?

OK, that was a bad joke. Anyway, even though men are almost always going to be faster (on foot, that is), and stronger, it doesn't mean that women can't match them in hand/eye coordination. Why aren't more women in racing? There's a number of factors, including : resistance from family (fathers would teach/encourage boys instead), sponsors unwilling to back a woman, pressure to pursue "more acceptable" activities (softball, anyone?), etc...
posted by Liosliath at 10:31 PM on July 8, 2006


Well, since no one took a screen capture of her MySpace profile before it was lost down the memory hole, here's a picture of the accused.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:34 PM on July 8, 2006


A bit late to be name-dropping, but I did meet "HRH", aka the Prince of Tonga, about 10 years ago when he was visiting my houseboatmate. Seemed like a nice guy. Sad...
posted by tritisan at 11:02 PM on July 8, 2006


With all due respect, why is your bail set higher for royalty than for anyone else?
well - lets do a little thought experiment - let's pretend she killed the president of the USA. What do you think her bail would be ?
posted by silence at 11:05 PM on July 8, 2006


The solution is to make the driving exams much more stringent

Not going to happen to me as long as Florida is full of old people.
posted by oaf at 11:46 PM on July 8, 2006


Here's my firsthand account: I had stayed late at work to build a 350 hour TiVo for some friends, and I was finally driving up 101 in the fast lane, slightly irritated because some guy in a giant black pickup truck thought that because he was going 70, it was just fine for him to be in the left lane even though he was holding up a long line of traffic (with me right behind him). I wasn't irritated enough to try to go around on the right, but somewhere between Mountain View and Palo Alto, an Acura Integra with a large diameter exhaust followed closely by a white Mustang went zipping past all of us on the right, changing lanes as needed to weave around cars. It seems likely that Ms. Delgado was driving the white Mustang I saw.

A few minutes later, it was all brake lights ahead of me (really, all I could see was the back of the big black truck) and we all slowed to 10 or 15 mph. Eventually, a CHP cruiser cleared the left lane as he drove past us, lights flashing, and finally got the irritating big black truck out of my way. By the time I got up to the accident, I saw what must have been their driver on the shoulder of the road, covered, next to the wedge-shaped SUV upside down.

Besides the CHP, there were plenty of additional cars pulled over at the accident scene, and at the time I had no idea that one of the cars that had passed me earlier probably caused the accident. Apparently they're looking for someone driving a black Cadillac Escalade, but I suppose I should mention the Acura to them.

I probably get passed by a couple or three bozos doing the traffic racing weave once or twice a month on 101, and they seem to be going 85 - 105 as traffic permits (I know it's faster than 85 because I'm going 75 - 80 mph if I can). I will always change lanes to the right to get out of the way of faster traffic, but sometimes these guys whip past so fast that by the time I've signalled for a second or two, they're past on the right.
posted by surlycat at 12:02 AM on July 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


In some states you can't drive if you don't have insurance, and if you can't drive, how can you get a job (Or get to the polls easily)?

Bicycle? Public transport?

Suppose rather then some abstract concept of "race" we went directly by skin color. Yes, that can change day to day but not by all that much. If it turned out that demographically people with darker skin were more likely to get into car accidents, would you be OK with charging people more money based on that skin color?

I'm not sure that makes any sense. Insurance companies don't care why someone is a greater or lesser risk, so they'd be charging them more because they're not safe drivers, not because of the color of their skin. It may be a concomitant state, but it has no meaningful relationship with their bad-driver state as far as the insurers are concerned.

The problem I have with that sort of methodology is that it punishes people based on what group they are in, not based on anything they did in particular, ultimately punishing them for things they have absolutely no control over.

It's not a punishment, though. If companies didn't charge in proportion to the risk they assume, they'd either lose money or customers. It's just a fact of business.

I can't change the fact that I'm a man, and I can't change the driving behavior of any other men.

Of course you can't. Don't take it too personally.
posted by clockzero at 12:09 AM on July 9, 2006


clockzero: It's not a punishment, though. If companies didn't charge in proportion to the risk they assume, they'd either lose money or customers. It's just a fact of business.

Yeah, well, health insurers would love to climb up your ass with a endoscope or sequence your DNA, but they can't because it's illegal and unethical. Somehow, they manage to scrape by. We are merely saying that charging the genders differently is also unethical and should also be illegal. No one would tolerate it if they did it with race, no one would tolerate it if it was women who were being charged more, and it shouldn't be tolerated as it is.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:24 AM on July 9, 2006


People who say "8 years isn't enough": Who were you 8 years ago? Considerably different than you are now, I assure you. Even in the past year, you've changed appreciably.

Now try to imagine yourself progressing through that time in a jail cell, surrounded by people who don't a flying fuck about life (yours or theirs), and how much you'd change and in what ways. What if you got into that situation by making a mistake and one day speeding?

Still think that one stupid accident is worth sending someone to jail for this long or longer? If so, I truly hope it happens to you, so you can come out of the jail and see how much you have changed. I'd love to hear your -more informed- opinion then.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:24 AM on July 9, 2006


Yes, if I killed somebody I would understand jailtime as a consequence of my action. Jail isn't solely for rehabilitation (which it's not particularly good for), it's also for punishment. And punishment need not be a means to an end; it can itself be an end.

Life does not generally provide serious enough consequences for crimes. It doesn't know about consequences. But the law does.

What if you got into that situation by making a mistake and one day speeding?

If I did what she did, I would deserve punishment. I would not like prison one bit, but that's the point, isn't it?

Still think that one stupid accident is worth sending someone to jail for this long or longer?

Yes I do. What else should we do? Say "the damage is already done" and do nothing? "It won't bring back the dead," and so do nothing?
posted by Khalad at 1:24 AM on July 9, 2006


"we have a long history in this country of punishing people based on the results of their actions, not just their actions alone" - posted by knave
Yeah, I see that. Just thinking out loud really. I was thinking in the context of choice. Driving while intoxicated or at a way way over the top sort of speed could have lethal consequences. It just seems - purely philosophically, not practically or legally, somewhat disproportionate to nail someone when they crash, but have much much less of a punishment if they perform essentially the same acts leading to the crash, but don't, ultimately crash. I guess I feel a bit guilty for driving like a maniac when I was a kid and "getting away with it." As a practical matter, you can really only judge by the results, it still seems like rewarding luck or skill.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:28 AM on July 9, 2006


Khalad: Punishment need not be a means to an end; it can itself be an end.


You're going to have to do a hell of a lot better job of explaining yourself before I can come close to biting on that one, and so I'll simply ask, at the risk of begging the question, to what end? Until you can give a reasonable dissertation on why punishment is it's own reward - which I imagine doesn't involve whatever your own misdeeds might be which you have been lucky enough to escape without consequence - I'll just assume that it makes you feel better, and that you're not the one whose life is thrown away in the process.

What else should we do? Say "the damage is already done" and do nothing? "It won't bring back the dead," and so do nothing?

No. She should be punished for breaking a known law. That was her choice. The bizarre consequences were not. It makes sense to change the laws of speeding, street racing, reckless endangerment and so on to the best degree available to prevent further occurences, but judging people more harshly on account of seemingly random resultant consequences is, if nothing else, cruel and unusual. Charging her with the crimes based on her actions is justice. Punishing her for the unusual consequences solves nothing, as you yourself admit, so what is the point of draconian retribution? Personally, it just seems like a highly misnthropic, detatched position. You've forgotten that this girl's life is not about a traffic accident that she caused on Wednesay, nor is the First Lady's life about the one that she caused in her teens.

If Chaos Science were to really ramp up, we'd be able to look backwards from every death, seemingly natural or not, and trace the strings of causes. Once we found anything illegal, no matter how innocuous in its intent, should we then charge the perpetrator with manslaughter? Obviously yes, according to Khalad, if only so that more could be punished, which is good in itself. I don't know, though. To me, it seems that too much of justice is determined by how much information we have on consequences, without looking into how that equates to justice at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:26 AM on July 9, 2006


MetaFilter: I didn't crash into members of the Tonga royalty
posted by matteo at 2:50 AM on July 9, 2006


Anyone in here NOT driven at 100mph?
posted by BadSeamus at 3:32 AM on July 9, 2006


Operation of a vehicle on any public road in any state in the U.S. is a limited, revocable privilege, not a right.

Interesting. The State hands out privileges, instead of limiting rights. And I thought the joke went: "In the US you can do whatever you want unless there is a sign saying you can't, while in other countries you can't do anything unless there is a sign saying you can."
posted by moonbiter at 4:00 AM on July 9, 2006


it's sad they died, but if the royal family had klled the 18 year old girl, they would be politely asked to leave the country.
posted by zorro astor at 4:53 AM on July 9, 2006


Sorry. Good ridance. Tonga stole land that did not belong to them. As such, they are an aggresor nation, not worthy of my sympathy. If they'd had more sense, they'd not have been in an SUV anyway.

Yea, the girl was an idiot. But how much is to blame on the lame SUV that rolled, rather than the perp's speed?
posted by Goofyy at 6:08 AM on July 9, 2006


clockzero writes "It's not a punishment, though. If companies didn't charge in proportion to the risk they assume, they'd either lose money or customers. It's just a fact of business."

ICBC does it right, they charge strictly on driving history and local risk.
posted by Mitheral at 6:45 AM on July 9, 2006


Lo, I am become Street Racer, the destroyer of royals.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:46 AM on July 9, 2006


This is an accident tho. A very stupid, tragic one.

You know, I think we misuse the word "accident" to our detriment here. If this girl had been driving with the flow of traffic, hit a slick spot, lost control and hit the SUV? Accident. If someone had tried to merge into her lane and she swerved to avoid that vehicle, overcorrected and clipped the SUV? Accident. I'd even accept that if the collision occurred because it was in the girl's blind spot and she changed lanes inadvisedly, it would be an accident.

But this collision and the resulting deaths did not occur because of an unforeseen road issue, from a snowball of split second incidents or a technical mistake. This was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of illegal, irreponsible, colossally selfish, stupid, ignorant behavior. This was no Good thing more an "accident" than it's an "accident" that a window breaks when you repeatedly fling stones at it.

When you act like a maniac on the roads, people can lose their lives. Everyone knows this. Youth and cupidity are no excuse. 8 years? She's getting off lucky. I'm only sorry that she didn't have a couple of rocks of crack on her; if she had, she would be facing appropriate prison time for what she's done.
posted by Dreama at 6:54 AM on July 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Strike that random "Good thing" in the second paragraph above. $@(!*# touchpad.
posted by Dreama at 6:58 AM on July 9, 2006


it's sad they died, but if the royal family had klled the 18 year old girl, they would be politely asked to leave the country.

Well, you can't argue with that kind of logic!

I mean, if she was in a bathysphere and had simply bumped up against a few small fish what difference would it have made, right?
posted by dobbs at 6:59 AM on July 9, 2006


'the lame SUV that rolled'

The old Ford Galaxy is one of the least safe people carriers on the road as regards rolling AFAIK.
posted by asok at 8:05 AM on July 9, 2006


Anyone in here NOT driven at 100mph?

Yup. I'm the person driving the speed limit, getting flipped off by all the maniacs passing me on the right.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:31 AM on July 9, 2006


Yea, the girl was an idiot. But how much is to blame on the lame SUV that rolled, rather than the perp's speed?

And Sic semper tyrannis to you, too. It's so much easier to blame the victim, eh?
posted by dw at 8:46 AM on July 9, 2006


Mitrovarr
Yeah, well, health insurers would love to climb up your ass with a endoscope or sequence your DNA, but they can't because it's illegal and unethical. Somehow, they manage to scrape by. We are merely saying that charging the genders differently is also unethical and should also be illegal. No one would tolerate it if they did it with race, no one would tolerate it if it was women who were being charged more, and it shouldn't be tolerated as it is.

How is it unethical, and why should it be illegal, to charge someone more for insurance if they are a greater risk?
posted by clockzero at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2006


I'm the person driving the speed limit, getting flipped off by all the maniacs passing me on the right.

If you're doing the speed limit or less, you should not be anywhere but the rightmost lane. If someone passes you on the right, it is only because you are exercising poor lane discipline.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:19 AM on July 9, 2006


If you're doing the speed limit or less, you should not be anywhere but the rightmost lane.

I should've been more clear. I was thinking of a specific recent incident, where a car passed me using an exit-only lane.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:33 AM on July 9, 2006


Yup. I'm the person driving the speed limit, getting flipped off by all the maniacs passing me on the right.

And look where you've ended up -- dead, in a library.
posted by Drexen at 9:33 AM on July 9, 2006


My point is when are we going to get computer controlled cars???

Yeah, seriously. (The answer to your question is that the technology has been around for a while, but you have to pay lots for equipping both the road and the cars to do autonomous traffic.)

Cars aren't meant to be driven by humans. They're a hack. The human mind isn't optimized for this whole "pay attention for hours to the speed and direction of a lethal machine" thing.
posted by Firas at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2006


clockzero: How is it unethical, and why should it be illegal, to charge someone more for insurance if they are a greater risk?

It's not. But you can't just walk over individual rights such as privacy and the right to not be discriminated against based on race or gender in your quest to do so. That is the unethical part.

Also, a side point was that despite medical insurers being prevented from running insane batteries of tests, somehow they stay in business. Eliminating gender discrimination in insurance wouldn't mean the companies would go out of business, it'd just mean they'd have to level rates between the genders.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:41 AM on July 9, 2006


The legalistic definitions of discrimination fall along the lines of immutability, don't they? I can't change the fact that I'm male.

I'm not saying it's an outrage that insurers charge more for men—god knows there are other things to worry about—but it does seem to be a problematic issue. (Should companies consider women employees as more expensive than male ones because the women are able to get pregnant? I think it's a reasonable parallel. (I do realize that in 'more enlightened' countries both men and women get paternity/maternity leave but, in the American context..))
posted by Firas at 9:42 AM on July 9, 2006


You're going to have to do a hell of a lot better job of explaining yourself before I can come close to biting on that one, and so I'll simply ask, at the risk of begging the question, to what end?

Okay, you're right. I was being disingenuous. Punishment is not an end by itself; rather, I think it's useful to think of it as one rather than to dive into the complex issue of whether punishment is useful, is it justice, does deterrence work, etc., every time something horrible and sad happens.

To me, it seems that too much of justice is determined by how much information we have on consequences, without looking into how that equates to justice at all.

Yes, it is very sad when due to bad luck decent people get in horrible situations, and receive heavy punishment for it. Ideally, only intent and negligence would matter, not the ultimate outcome. Chance oughtn't play a part.

I'm not sure I'll ever understand exactly why murderers are punished more severely than attempted murderers.

On the other hand, I accept that while all drunk or reckless drivers should be punished equally, it is not realistic to expect our legal system to change so fundamentally, nor do I think any such reform would last long after an accident or two seeing a drunk driver take out a school bus full of children.

It may be disproportionate to lock this girl up for many years when she really was just being a dunderheaded teenager, but poor risk assessment does not get you off the hook for your actions. Invert the frame of reference: she knew she could kill people by driving like a maniac, and she knew that she could go to jail for that. She made that gamble and she lost. Don't put so much blame on the law for her stupidity.
posted by Khalad at 9:43 AM on July 9, 2006


This will never be noticed at this point, but...

Kwantsar said:
"OMG SOMEONE UNDER 21 LIKES TO DRINK!"

Not the point.

The point is that she was trying desperately to make herself look more sympathetic and left that in, which is not going to help her case at all.

Sabe?
posted by batmonkey at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2006


Also won't be noticed at this point, but, still...

Firas said:
"There's no need to get all hunt-the-witch. How about just judging her on the fact of what happened?"

Also not the point. The point was that I find self-absorption to that degree bemusing, and thinking about that in hand with the realities of the prison atmosphere was even more interesting.

Yep, she's going to learn a lot. Like I said: damned hard way to learn a lesson.
posted by batmonkey at 10:03 AM on July 9, 2006


badseamus said: Anyone in here NOT driven at 100mph?

Yea, me. I think that you've just explained why insurance rates are higher for young men than young women. :)
posted by bim at 10:07 AM on July 9, 2006


I should have done this in the first place - selected things to reply to in one spot...

klarck said:
"[Put's San Jose attorney Randy Moore's name in rolodex.]"

Heh.

dantsea's comment here about why the bail is so high is probably dead-on.

Ben Grimm said:
"Um, didn't our current First Lady kill somebody in a car accident a couple of decades ago? Did she get 8 years punishment? (No, but our country sure did!!)"

I was thinking that, too, yesterday. What a fascinating case this is. I mean, yes, tragic, but all of the pieces and parts bring up so many societal sticking points.

surlycat: wow. It never fails to amaze me how much interconnection this venue gives us to current events. Thank you for providing that account.

BadSeamus asked:
"Anyone in here NOT driven at 100mph?"

Not me. I was once in car that did (all told, he managed to get his GT up to 120), and he got pulled over by a helicopter, three reinforced vans, and a turbo'd police charger. Me and my best friend were white-knuckled passengers the whole time, asking him to please slow down.

I've never been tempted. I think the highest MPH I've ever hit was 85, and that was quite enough for me.

I do dream of one day going to a track and seeing what that kind of speed really feels like.

Dreama: Yes, yes, yes. I dare say even some pot would have netted her a far more lengthy sentencing possibility.
posted by batmonkey at 10:29 AM on July 9, 2006


Perhaps she could spend the next eight years getting caught up on Tongan history, language, culture and also polical science and when she gets out she could take up the struggle for democracy in Tonga (or elsewhere in the world if the Tongans won't have her)?
posted by wobh at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2006


Mitrovarr
It's not. But you can't just walk over individual rights such as privacy and the right to not be discriminated against based on race or gender in your quest to do so. That is the unethical part.

Well, your privacy is not violated if you volunteer information. And as for the gender and race thing, are you referring to the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment? I don't think it really applies here, partially because you're being charged more for being a greater risk and not because you're male or black or whatever, but I would be interested in the outcome of a legal challenge.

Also, a side point was that despite medical insurers being prevented from running insane batteries of tests, somehow they stay in business. Eliminating gender discrimination in insurance wouldn't mean the companies would go out of business, it'd just mean they'd have to level rates between the genders.

That's a good point. It's not the only way to do business. But it does seem to work well.
posted by clockzero at 11:01 AM on July 9, 2006


jacalata: No, as a girl, I guarantee you that men are better at sport. .... Now, I'm way better than the average woman at any sport I play - but I'd still be among the weakest players on any guys team.

As I've never been willing to play a sport where other players had sticks and were chasing me, I can't speak to hockey, but I guarantee you that I'm a better driver than 95% of the people behind the wheel. I consistantly built and raced winning cars. My last quarter mile car, which I sold when I got pregnant, never lost an 11 second challenge.

There are lots of women who are very good at racing. But it's only been recently that women have been given a chance at sponsored rides for pro events. Twenty years from now, we may have women as a quarter of the racers, who knows. But women can absolutely compete with men in auto sports, equipment being equal.
posted by dejah420 at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2006


Just out of question, if the royals were riding in a limo or a standard car would they be dead? How much of this accident could have been avoided if the royals were in a car that didn't have a high center of gravity?

As for the three million bail; that's fucking bull shit. She's 18, fine her $30K or something.
posted by DragonBoy at 1:18 PM on July 9, 2006


Bumper cars have been around for decades. The blood from every car death stands at the hands of the Big 3 and the tools who do their bidding in Congress. They could reduce auto death if they limited the speed a car is able to travel (if the speed limit is 65 why do they allow cars to be driven in this country that can go over 65?) and forced every manufacturer to create giant rubber bumpers of a universal height from the ground to surround each and every car. Of course that would also limited the amount of damage a car would sustain in an accident and from what I understand car companies make much of their profit from parts. More profit for blood - that should be imprinted on the American Flag.
posted by any major dude at 3:22 PM on July 9, 2006


...and forced every manufacturer to create giant rubber bumpers of a universal height from the ground to surround each and every car. Of course that would also limited the amount of damage a car would sustain in an accident and from what I understand car companies make much of their profit from parts. More profit for blood - that should be imprinted on the American Flag.

Damn those evil bastards in Congress! Damn them!
posted by Khalad at 4:21 PM on July 9, 2006


It's not the evil bastards in Congress or the evil bastards in industry who pay them more than we do - It's the ignorant visionless Americans that are too lazy to hold either of them to the fire (Congressmen by witholding the vote and industry by witholding the dollar) when they deride progress that will save lives. Granted a universal bumper would be ugly but you'd think there would be a way with all the high tech product put into today's vehicles to make some kind of universal hydrolic bumper that could absorb shock up to 30-40mph. It's not going to happen because it's ugly and unprofitable but it is a solution and if we weren't all just a bunch of cowards in this country we would demand it be done, just like we should be demanding universal healthcare.
posted by any major dude at 4:36 PM on July 9, 2006


hincandenza writes "This sucks, and a horrible thing happened- this girl's life is ruined, she's killed three people- but it's not more tragic than if it had been 3 ordinary people."

True, but if they had been 3 ordinary people we wouldn't even be mentioning it. Lots of people have died because of street-racing asshats, but you're not likely to have heard of them. It's like murder victims.
posted by clevershark at 5:19 PM on July 9, 2006


we weren't all just a bunch of cowards in this country

Hey, hey now...I am NOT a coward. I am lazy and apathetic!
posted by LooseFilter at 5:56 PM on July 9, 2006


It's impossible to make a bumper that works on both a 4X4 and a low car that will still hit each other in case of a collision.

any major dude writes "They could reduce auto death if they limited the speed a car is able to travel (if the speed limit is 65 why do they allow cars to be driven in this country that can go over 65?)"

What do you do about a) the installed base b) enforcement and c) law changes. If your requirement was enacted back during the federal double nickel half the cars on the road wouldn't be able to do more than 55 despite freeway speed limits of 70 in many states (or 110 in Canada).
posted by Mitheral at 6:03 PM on July 9, 2006


It's worth noting that the rubber bumper idea would actually make cars more dangerous. What causes a lot of the injury in accidents is acceleration trauma; the car is either stopped or has its velocity changed dramatically by the collision, and this sends the passengers bouncing around the inside of the car (and in extreme circumstances they take internal damage due to exposure to excessive g-forces.)

This is why modern cars are designed to crumple; this absorbs energy that would otherwise go into accelerating the car, and spreads the acceleration out over more time. Sure, they end up being mangled by the collision, but it can save the passengers.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:07 PM on July 9, 2006


In case anyone wants to send their condolences, the current postal address of the Mission of Tonga to the UN is 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022^.
posted by XMLicious at 8:38 PM on July 9, 2006


"...This is why modern cars are designed to crumple; this absorbs energy that would otherwise go into accelerating the car, and spreads the acceleration out over more time. ..."
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:07 PM EST on July 9


That's an excellent point, and another area, besides computerized vehicle control and license class enforcement, for fruitful regulatory improvement. Reducing the momentum of vehicles involved in crashes, by limiting vehicle mass, is as important to making crumple type safety structures work well as limiting their speeds. Sharing the road with 18 wheelers weighing 60 tons is a recipe for disaster, but trucks are heavily regulated and professionally driven; if we could enforce the regulations, trucks would have a relatively low contribution to vehicular death rates.

What we need to do, as this accident illustrates, is get SUVs off the road. If we got the average vehicle GVW down to under 3,000 pounds from it's current 3,300 pounds, in conjunction with eliminating most heavier vehicles driven by non-professionals, we'd improve survival in 2 vehicle crashes quite a bit.
posted by paulsc at 10:28 PM on July 9, 2006


badseamus said: Anyone in here NOT driven at 100mph?

>>Yea, me.
>>me
>>me

My point is that people who have never driven recklessly in their lives are certainly the minority. We all consider ourselves safe drivers and the other people on the road as the idiots. Heck, I'm not sure that I even consider 100mph to be that reckless in a modern vehicle on a road as big and wide and empty at night as the 101 through San Mateo. < insert standard autobahn statistics in here.>> No question what she did was stupid, and illegal - but unusual? no - apart from a few saints in here :-) everybody has done it...
posted by BadSeamus at 10:34 PM on July 9, 2006


Doing 100mph isn't as reckless as doing 100mph weaving through traffic, passing on the right and playing some stupid ass game with another car. You can drive fast without driving as if you're playing a video game.
posted by stavrogin at 10:44 PM on July 9, 2006


I seriously doubt that an "everybody has gone 100 mph" argument is going to carry much weight in this case. Geesh. You guys have got to be kidding. :)
posted by bim at 4:31 AM on July 10, 2006


“You know, I think we misuse the word "accident" to our detriment here.” - posted by Dreama

Yes. But I meant accident in terms of intent in the context of a crime committed. It was not an intended result - although the driving fast was.
Therefore my question - given that such a thing is the result of “reasonably foreseeable consequence of illegal, irreponsible, colossally selfish, stupid, ignorant behavior” why then do we punish the results more than the behavior itself?

Why don’t we give people doing 100+mph, 8 years? Why don’t we give people driving very recklessly 8 years?
In that sense - we reward someone for engaging in the exact same behavior that led to the consequences here, but somehow (luck, skill, etc.) evaded the end results.
Doesn’t seem fair that between two people acting like maniacs on the road one we put in jail for 8 years the other we slap with a fine.
/I myself have driven many times at 100+, both before and after I was trained in driving at high speeds. Not lately of course (getting older). And when I did I didn’t treat it lightly, which I suspect happened here. But that die is cast. Should I go to jail for 8 years because I could have killed someone even though I didn’t? I guess the question is what should be the proportionality in crime compared to the acts leading up to it. Attempted murder carries with it a penalty close to murder. Should someone traveling at excessive speeds, say 40 - 50+ over the speed limit, be sentenced in proportion to someone who driving similarly recklessly crashes into and kills someone?

Or howabout this - there was a road in Montana with no speed limit. (Apparently it was safer than roads with limits). If I’m doing 100 mph on that road and I crash into and kill someone - what’s the penalty?
Indeed, couldn’t the slowpoke be cited?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:10 AM on July 10, 2006


Still think that one stupid accident is worth sending someone to jail for this long or longer?

Yes. Street racers and drunk drivers should be publicly crucified.

Then we can get rid of all the fucking cars, which are bar none the worst invention of all time.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:46 AM on July 10, 2006


Smedleyman writes "Or howabout this - there was a road in Montana with no speed limit. (Apparently it was safer than roads with limits). If I’m doing 100 mph on that road and I crash into and kill someone - what’s the penalty?
"Indeed, couldn’t the slowpoke be cited?"


Not one road, the whole state before the federal speed limit and for a short time after it's repeal had no set speed limit on interstates during daylight hours. Speed on interstates in Montana were governed by the basic speed law which essentially says you can go as fast as is safe(reasonable and prudent). And for a few short months in 1996 even that regulation had been declared unconstitutional. Note that cops can always write you a ticket for reckless driving, stunting, display of speed, or whatever the local catch all motor vehicle harassment law is.

I shiver when I imagine traveling an interstate in 1957 in a 1950 car with 1956 tires at 80 mph.

Smedleyman writes "f I’m doing 100 mph on that road and I crash into and kill someone - what’s the penalty? "

You'd be charged with reckless endangerment or similiar plus viloation of the basic speed law. The fact you had an accident is indisputable proof that you were driving faster than was safe for conditions.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on July 10, 2006


Yes. But I meant accident in terms of intent in the context of a crime committed. It was not an intended result - although the driving fast was.

It was not the intended result, but anyone with two functioning brain cells to rub together could know that it was a possible (if not probable) result. Remember, this girl wasn't just driving fast, she was weaving in and out of moderate-to-heavy traffic while she did so. The chance of something ugly, if not catastrophic (like this collision) happening was far greater than anyone who is conscientious, in any way, would be willing to take.

why then do we punish the results more than the behavior itself?

Because it's the "result" that carries the harm, and we punish people for causing harm and in keeping with the intensity of that harm. Shoving someone, if witnessed by a cop, can get you charged with simple assault. But if the person you shove falls, cracks their head on the pavement and dies from a hemorrhage in their brain, your action is the the same, but you're certainly liable for a much higher penalty.
posted by Dreama at 10:41 AM on July 10, 2006


“It was not the intended result, but anyone with two functioning brain cells to rub together could know that it was a possible (if not probable) result.” - posted by Dreama

Yeah, where the fuck do I get off posing hypotheticals for purposes of discussion? I’m such an asshole.

“Because it's the "result" that carries the harm” - posted by Dreama

Let me restate it:
A. I drive 100 mph - B. kill someone = 8 years.
C. I drive 100 mph - D. don’t kill someone = stiff fine.

Both initial states (A and C) are exactly equal. So your statement:
“When you act like a maniac on the roads, people can lose their lives. Everyone knows this. Youth and cupidity are no excuse. 8 years? She's getting off lucky.” - posted by Dreama

To which inital state does this refer?
A or C?
In both situations the person in question is acting like a maniac.
If it is only the result that matters - the intensity of harm, then why is intent at all a factor in criminal sentencing?

“The fact you had an accident is indisputable proof that you were driving faster than was safe for conditions.” - posted by Mitheral

Again, not speaking legally. Obviously you’d be prosecuted, etc.
The point being, conditions, intent, etc, are important to determining criminality. This is not to say in this case the girl wasn’t acting criminally, but to ask why the penalty for the collision is disproportionately higher than the penalty for exactly the same kinds of acts leading up to it.

I would argue, Dreama, that if I push someone in a dangerous place - e.g. near a cliff, it should carry a penalty close to that for actually shoving them off a cliff. I know the conditions are dangerous.
If I push someone while we’re standing in a soft grassy field and some sort of Rube Goldberg bizarre chain of events occurs to where that person dies, there is no way I should be charged in proportion with the larger crime.

In this case, I’m saying the identical set of acts occur, but a cop stops her just before she hits the SUV. Why (philosophically) doesn’t that carry a greater penalty?
I would think that would be more of a deterrant (overall) than a stiffer penalty when you do hit and kill someone.
No one believes they are going to kill someone when they go out on the road, they do see, however, they could see themselves speeding. So, big time penalties for reckless driving and speeding.
But we don’t have those. We have (apparently) the focus on making scapegoats.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:24 PM on July 10, 2006


We are merely saying that charging the genders differently is also unethical and should also be illegal.

ICBC, the public auto insurer for British Columbia, does not discriminate based on gender or age.

One of the significant advantages to public enterprises is that they often work to the benefit of the consumer. The company is guaranteed a captive market and good profits; the people are guaranteed fairness and regulation.

IMO we could do with a lot more public enterprises: specifically, those components that are a reasonable necessity of modern living. Utilities, healthcare, insurance: make 'em public and regulate hell outta them.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:20 PM on July 10, 2006


A page on the Myspace.com online community that appears to belong to Delgado leads with a quote reading: "Those who don't know me say I got no class. Those that know me say I got more class."

Found here.
posted by sbgrove at 2:49 PM on July 10, 2006


Memorial to Tongan royals becomes a hazard

Collection of mementos grows so large that Caltrans has it removed -- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/11/MNG1IJTDPE13.DTL
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:15 PM on July 11, 2006


« Older The World's Cutest Synth!   |   wright/eno speak Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments