A 24-year-old South Bay man was found guilty of second-degree murder Monday for running down his neighbor with his car four years ago, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office reports.
Prosecutors say Richard Delgado III was already a serial reckless driver in 2009 when he ran his grandfather’s borrowed Honda into 46-year-old Donna Fife. Fife was about to call police regarding Delgado’s penchant for reckless driving when she was killed.
Delgado had been involved in at least five other incidents of reckless driving, including 100 mph police chases and collisions, according to the district attorney’s office.
“For years, Richard Delgado has been living his life like a game of Grand Theft Auto,” Deputy District Attorney James Leonard said. “It’s not surprising that he killed someone. It’s surprising that it took so long for him to do it.”
Delgado committed his crime on January 19, 2009. Court records show that he had been doing donuts, leaving skid marks on the asphalt, and crashing his car into a neighbor’s fence before speeding away earlier that night. He then got into another car, aimed at Fife, accelerated, and ran her over. Fife had a cell phone in her hand and was ready to call police.
During the investigation into the homicide, a collision reconstruction expert examined the tread marks left by the Honda and determined that Delgado accelerated rapidly, but never lost control, never made any attempt to stop or slow down before or after he struck Fife, and ran her over with both front and rear driver’s side wheels.
He fled the scene, but was arrested two hours later when he attempted to return home.
While awaiting trial on this case, Delgado was convicted in 2012 of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and false imprisonment, both felonies, in connection to a 2008 unrelated incident. He is also awaiting trial for his alleged attacks on other inmates in Santa Clara County Jail, according to prosecutors.
Delgado is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19 when he will face up to 15 years in prison.