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.