By on August 14, 2013

How often have you heard someone go on and on about how real road racers and autocrossers don’t screw around and endanger other people on the street? The answer to that probably depends on how much time you spend hanging around road racers and autocrossers. Radomin Delgado might be an exception: he was cited doing 105mph in a 70 some time ago, and is a “person of interest” in a crash that totaled his 2009 Ferrari F430 Scuderia, killed one man, and severely injured the man’s life-long partner. Yet he was an SCCA champion and NASA instructor.

Mr. Delgado’s actions aren’t sitting very well with police or the public, but you could learn a little from what he’s done, so let’s discuss.

If you read two articles about the crash here and here you’ll get all the details, but the precis runs like so: Early Saturday morning Delgado’s “Scud” clipped the back of a Hyundai on I-75 near Hialeah. The Hyundai tumbled end-over-end. The driver, retired postal worker Jorge Arrojas, was killed. Mr. Arrojas’ partner, Miguel Larrieu, was injured.

When the police arrived, the driver of the Ferrari had fled the scene. The Florida Highway Patrol went looking for the guy. They didn’t find him. On Monday, an attorney contacted the police and indicated that he was representing Mr. Delgado. The negotiations will now proceed.

If you’re like most people, your response to this is “OMFG THIS GUY IS SOOOOOO GUILTY HE SHOULD JUST TURN HIMSELF IN.” That’s certainly Mr. Miguel Larrieu’s opinion about the whole thing. However, it’s worth noting that Mr. Delgado has a right to representation and to negotiate the terms of his surrender to police, if that even happens. I have no idea how the crash actually went down — I believe the usual procedure in events like this is to claim that some guy named Dietrich was driving. But regardless of what the true story is, Delgado is smart. If he’s not guilty, he loses nothing by lawyering up and he increases his chances of coming out of this clean. If he is guilty, he’s significantly limited the amount of ammunition the cops have against him. By fleeing the scene of the accident, he opened himself up to probably just a single additional charge — namely, fleeing the scene of an accident — but in exchange he’s managed to ensure that every interaction he has with the police will take place with the presence of counsel. That’s smart, even if what he did prior to that was stupid, because this is going to be at the very least a vehicular manslaughter case and you can go to jail for a Very. Long. Time. over that.

So what can we learn from this:

0. Don’t run into people at high speeds.
1. Even great racing drivers aren’t immune to stupidity and/or failure of talent on public roads.
2. Don’t talk to the police without an attorney present.
3. Like the man on “Hill Street Blues” said, be careful out there.

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48 Comments on “Scuderia Driver and SCCA Auto-X Champion Faces Questions Related to Hit And Run...”


  • avatar
    GoCougs

    lol – yet another abominable piece by TTAC. The “right” to “negotiate” surrender? He “significantly” limited the ammunition the cops have? By fleeing he opened himself up to “probably just a single additional charge?” What a joke!!!

    But yeah, this awful piece, let alone the crash itself, demonstrates that many in the automotive enthusiast community want to drive like thugs and get away with it.

    • 0 avatar
      thesal

      Well done, you “really” dissected his “arguments” fantastically well with all those “quotations”.

      And the sweeping generalization of “many in the automotive enthusiast community” was just icing on the cake.

      Game. Set. And Match. Well done sir.

      • 0 avatar
        GoCougs

        Thank you. A response isn’t even necessary – forgetting the ridiculous tone of the piece, anyone with any experience in the real world knows the legal system doesn’t work like this; theoretically, practically, or otherwise. I’m still lol’ing over the “right” to surrender!

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Yeah, you don’t have the “right” to negotiate your surrender. It’s a courtesy sometimes extended to suspects and/or defendants, but the cops and DA always reserve the right to roust you out of bed in the middle of the night, arrest warrant in hand, and put you on the “perp walk” after alerting the press if they so choose.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        It is a courtesy extended to people who can afford F430s.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          And almost everyone else who doesn’t have enough evidence against them to be arrested.

          I’m sure a bit of wealth helps when dealing with a situation, but we don’t know it all.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          Being rich sure doesn’t hurt…but I’ve seen low level thugs do the same working through some form of legal representation or on their own if they’re smart enough to know how the system works.

          …and Jack is right about the lawyer bit. You know the first thing a cop does when he’s accused of a crime? Lawyers up. Why? Because they’ve seen enough bad outcomes in the criminal justice system to know that actual innocence isn’t always relevant to proceedings.

          • 0 avatar
            PeteyCrack

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

            I used to be of the help them out if you’re innocent school, but then this video changed my mind.

    • 0 avatar

      When dealing with a system that is as corrupt in as many ways as our current criminal justice system is, any prudent person should lawyer up when accused of anything serious. Also, an attorney negotiating the surrender of a criminal suspect is hardly an uncommon occurrence.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    If you flee the scene of a fatal accident where you were driving like an a$$hole in an expensive sports car, the cops and DA will find a LOT more to charge you with than merely adding “fleeing the scene” to the list, and your deal will be less generous. They will almost certainly be running blood tests, and just about anything the driver has taken in the last week will show up, and they’ll be rather eager to charge being intoxicated with those substances just to add to the list.

    While you should of course shut up like a clam when interacting with the cops, fleeing the scene is a bad idea. Where you might ordinarily get your charges confined to reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter, your Hit-and-Run is an invitation for them to pore through the books to find additional things to charge you with. Even if you avoid having an illegal BAC by fleeing, I imagine it will be more than cancelled out by the reduced leniency you are going to get from the DA and/or Jury.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Criminal behavior is often the result of dumb decisions…and even people who ought to be smart don’t act it when they’re committing criminal acts. An FBI explosives expert with tons of experience working important criminal cases got busted for trading kiddie porn through an easily tracked email address. I know of police officers who have been fired for having sex on duty in a police cruiser with a woman they pulled over. The officer knew the dashcam was there, but apparently never spent enough time thinking about the significance of that to keep from doing the monster mash with the drunk woman he pulled over. The police chief who got a handie from a subordinate in a cruiser certainly knew what a dashcam could do to one’s career, but that didn’t seem to stop him either.

      You see this stuff and you have to stare in awestruck wonder at the stupidity of it…but it keeps happening over and over and over again.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    With all due respect, you left out an item on the list:

    4. Have a smart lawyer on retainer (“FSGI? Better call Saul!”) (“FSGI” is police-speak for “failure to stop and give information”)

    Anyone dumb enough to do the hit and run thing is probably not smart enough to orchestrate this little dance in a legally optimal manner. I suspect it was much more like a “call to Saul”: Hey, Saul! I just rear-ended a guy on the freeway and his car was doing cartwheels in the air, the last time I saw it in the rearview mirror as I was hauling ass to get TF outta there! WTF do I do now?” At which point Saul says, “STFU and do EXACTLY what I tell you.”

    Not that all lawyers are even smart enough to do that. There was a minor scandal here in metro DC when an associate of a Big Law firm struck and killed a pedestrian walking by the side of the road as she was driving home from the firm Christmas party, no doubt a little loaded.

    She did not stop. She did not call Saul or even her firm’s Michael Clayton. She did not negotiate the terms of her surrender to the police.

    She hid . . . and eventually the cops caught up with her.

    Her law firm was found civilly liable to the victim’s family and, I suspect the only job she’ll ever have at a law firm is emptying the trash cans and cleaning the toilets.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    “However, it’s worth noting that Mr. Delgado has a right to representation and to negotiate the terms of his surrender to police, if that even happens.”

    Sure, he has a right to representation. But presumably the only reason he hasn’t been hauled to jail yet is because he hasn’t been formally charged, or they don’t know where he is. They won’t drop some of the charges against him if he “agrees to surrender” via his lawyer. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if he’s formally charged with a crime, his lawyer can’t legally hide knowledge of his whereabouts, can he? Isn’t that just plain old harboring a fugitive?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      His lawyer isn’t required to have knowledge of his whereabouts, and the two of them can communicate without them having this knowledge.

      The phrase “right to negotiate surrender” has ruffled some feathers, apparently. It’s not in the Constitution but it’s in what Robert Ringer called “the law of the jungle”. If you have money and the ability to stay out of the view of the already-overworked police, you will benefit from having your attorney work it out with the court before you go to jail. It can be as simple as — to use an example I’m familiar with — making sure that you turn yourself in at the correct time so you spend 12 hours before being arraigned instead of 72.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        This IS how it works.. 2am is a good time, out by lunch

      • 0 avatar
        Buzz Killington

        Yep. Anything you do to make their lives easier will help. So if you call them and agree to come in at a certain time, they prefer that over having to go find you.

        On a side note: has it been shown that this guy was actually driving, or even in the car at the time?

  • avatar
    wsn

    4. Drive a big SUV. The person might not have died, if he was in an Escalade instead.

    It seems that there is some wisdom in SUV drivers.

  • avatar
    autojim

    Mr. Delgado is well-known for sharing his rides. That same ’09 Scuderia was shared by at least 3 other drivers at the ’09 SCCA Solo Nationals. IIRC, it ran in at least two classes with different drivers, and possibly the parallel ladies classes to those classes.

    That said, fleeing the scene of a major collision is not the brightest thing one could do. Jack left out that Mr. Delgado’s attorney is also saying he’s representing an as-yet-unnamed person regarding this incident. If this is a real person who was driving the car, Mr. Delgado is probably going to be off the hook completely. There will be physical evidence of the hit on anyone who was in the car. At the very least, we’re talking about belt bruises. The Scuderia didn’t drive away from the hit.

    Interestingly, if there were two people in the car and both were wearing the Scuderia’s optional-and-not-USDOT-approved 4-point belts, determining who was in which seat is going to be slightly more difficult. They’ll need to look at wrists and hands and maybe buckle-induced bruising patterns.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      I was also getting the impression that possibly somebody else was driving. That said, since it’s his car, he better have a real good umbrella liability policy (especially if he was in the car at the time.) The non-umbrella amounts aren’t going to cover anywhere near what he’s going to be liable for and the plaintiffs are likely going to want to bankrupt him if possible.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      As I’ve pondered this story I’m wondering if that’s part of a plan to avoid responsibility. What if 2 people admit to being in the car but neither will confirm who was driving? You can’t be compelled to admit to driving, and if no independent evidence exists to identify the driver does reasonable doubt apply?

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        Wouldn’t get that far. If the driver can’t be identified, the state gas failed to reach the much lower legal standard of probable cause and charges won’t even be filed.

  • avatar
    mmarreco

    I live in Miami. Hit and runs are a widespread problem here. Too many people driving intoxicated or without a license or insurance so they think they are better off fleeing the scene.

    I don’t have any further information on Delgado’s crash but the day and time certainly increase the odds whomever was driving had a few drinks or more. So by getting away and waiting to turn himself in he escapes the DUI charge.

    There was a similar case last year where a driver (Michele Traverso) had been drinking all night and hit 2 cyclists when driving back home. One of them died at the scene while the driver fled and only turned himself in when he was sober. He avoided the DUI charge and was only sentenced to just under 2 years ij jail. Unbelievable.

    In my view the only way to correct this behavior is to make the punishment for leaving the scene of an accident much worse than a DUI sentence.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Totally agree. Don’t they have a charge named “refusal to take a breath/blood test” to deal with certain DUI situations? Fleeing from the scene should automatically convict the driver of that charge.

      In addition, this person should be charged with man-slaughter, because when he failed to report to the police immediately, the dead cyclist might have a chance to live, if help came in quickly enough. Also, the injured cyclist might have died due to his fleeing.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    If you are drunk it is certainly a better alternative because they will never prosecute you for killing while being drunk.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    From the picture in the linked articles I’m amazed that the Scud was even able to leave the scene.

    In any case, leaving the scene of an accident that you caused is disgustingly immoral. Regardless of one’s “rights to negotiate surrender” and the possibility of improving one’s legal options, failing to stop to see if the victim of the accident needs immediate help demonstrates a clear lack of humanity.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      It didn’t leave the scene.

      The driver was gone when police arrived.

      I agree with you about what the moral thing is, but very few people who have experienced the Harkonnen fist of American quick-bake “justice” have managed to both survive and retain scruples in matters like that.

      • 0 avatar
        92golf

        Nice reference!

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Forget about scruples, I’m talking about the most basic humanity of knowing that someone you harmed may be in desperate need of help, even if it’s just the effort to notify someone else. If you’ve got the wits and mobility to extricate yourself from that wrecked Scud, you can go to the Hyundai to see if you can get someone out, stop bleeding, etc. Running away makes the driver and passenger cowards of the first order, and only increases the heat in the quick-bake oven that they will inevitably find themselves in. I can’t guarantee what I would do in a similar situation but I would hang my head in shame if I didn’t stay to give aid.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          You’d be amazed how quick basic humanity goes out the window when you think you might be looking at a stretch in prison. In the Aurora Colorado shooting a dude who was there with his girlfriend holding his 4 month old baby saw the shooter, dropped the baby, ran out of the theater, got in his car, and sped away as fast as he could. You’d think basic humanity would cause a man to try and protect his child and the mother of his child. This guy dropped the kid and ran as fast as humanly possible, leaving a teenage good samaritan to take the bullet to protect the kid.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Jail time for a car accident?? Not too likely in Florida. Don’t forget, this is the state that mothers can kill their babies and guys can shoot teenagers without going to jail…

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Are the mothers having their heads bashed in by the babies when they kill them? I don’t recall seeing that in the news.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Nothing wrong with shooting teenagers when they pose a threat. In WW2, allied force killed thousands of armed Nazi German teenagers. Some are as young as 12~15.

      If someone tries to crack my skull, I don’t care if it’s a 99 year old white Muslim male or 9 year old black Jewish girl. I will pull the trigger.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Proof through evidence, due process, reasonable doubt–man, those things sure are annoying and outdated.

      /sarcasm

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    “How often have you heard someone go on and on about how real road racers and autocrossers don’t screw around and endanger other people on the street? The answer to that probably depends on how much time you spend hanging around road racers and autocrossers.”

    This depends on how far you want to run with the “No true Scottsman” fallacy.

  • avatar
    cRaCk hEaD aLLeY

    There obviously was some other car/driver keeping up, or trying to keep up with with that F430.

    I would not doubt the person that helped the driver of the F430 is now negotiating a price to turn him/herself in. Problem is, there will have to be a DNA match between what is found in the F430 and the driver that “surrenders”.

    Leaving an accident scene IS AN EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE that has been used numerous times by people familiar with common-law judicial systems.

    You can avoid a DUI death related charge by leaving the scene, consuming alcohol+drugs and returning to the scene.

    Obstruction of justice is a lesser charge and will save your scalp and time in jail when there is a death involved.

    Google RCMP officer Benjamin Monty Robinson, RCMP. There are many other examples.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      People suffer from serious CSI syndrome, expecting DNA evidence to show up at every crime scene and to be useful in every case. That’s just not so.

      • 0 avatar
        George Herbert

        A collison with airbag deployments “almost always” results in skin DNA and often blood on the airbags.

        Skin DNA or even blood elsewhere around the vehicle from the owner would not be sufficient probable cause to believe he was the driver; he owns the car and his DNA will be everywhere on exposed surfaces.

        But the airbags are enclosed until deployed, so (with minimal cross-contamination, in most cases) what’s on the drivers’ side bag is who was driving, and what’s on the passenger side bag is who wasn’t.

        The complicating factor is that if there was a rollover or violent spin, and both parties bled a bit then there’s possibly both DNA samples on both airbags and elsewhere in the car.

        That’s all assuming it’s really two occupants at time of crash. If not, then whichever one it was is kinda screwed when the DNA comparison is run.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Wow Jack,

    You just seem to be batting a 1000 in the “What can I write today to piss everybody off” department!

    Leaving the scene of an accident is not the right thing to do and does not limit his right to representation. He causes an accident, he is at the scene, he gets arrested and he asks for his lawyer. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

    Not, He (allegedly) causes an accident, he flees the scene, then lawyers up so he work some weaselly alibi.

    What are you going to be writing about next? Alcohol-masking pills so people can avoid DUIs and then wonder what everybody is so flustered about?

  • avatar
    David Hester

    As Jack admitted in the comments section, there is no “right” to surrender. However, it’s really not all that uncommon in the real world. You just don’t hear about it that often. In long term felony investigations it happens a lot. It’s usually as informal as the investigator making a phone call to the accused’s attorney and saying “Have your guy in the lobby at nine tomorrow morning.”

    I suspect in this case that probable cause hasn’t been established or someone would be in bracelets.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Two words for whoever was driving: “Prison Bitch”.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    From the point of view of minimizing possible charges, the guy probably did the right thing. If the police had probably cause, there would already be a warrant for his arrest. It was 12:30 in the morning, so likely no one got a good look at him. At this point, likely all they can *prove* is that this guy owns the car left at the scene of the accident. I have no doubt that they are trying VERY hard to put him behind the wheel, but in the real world that may well not happen. As Jack pointed out, he lets everyone and anyone drive the car. And for all we know, maybe it was his kid that was driving the car.

    A d-bag for not taking immediate responsibility for his actions (if he was driving), but a smart d-bag. And guys who can afford late model Ferraris tend to have VERY good lawyers.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    This is a good discussion piece, and I like the point of view it takes. Nobody is talking about the moral or right thing to do; I think we all know that by default, so why beat it into the ground? Another editorial hanging some evil doer; isn’t there enough of those out there? Never mind if it takes no thinking at all to write.

    I see where the author is coming from, it makes you think, it starts a good discussion (if you can get past the idiots and the typical knee-jerk reaction). Yeah this guy is probably a bad man and guilty. Really, is that the article you want to waste your time reading? Not me.

    Don’t listen to the idiots, unless readership numbers are important…… because they’re a lot of idiots out there.


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