MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) — A South Bay family received a measure of justice Wednesday, nearly a decade after losing a young daughter in a 2009 street racing incident.
Authorities have been working for nine years to extradite Shannon Steven Fox, the suspect in the hit-and-run case. Menlo Park Police Department waited until the very last moment to inform the Xavier family that they captured Fox.
“Yesterday, when we had confirmation that he was on a plane headed to the United States, we called the family,” said Menlo Park Police Chief David Bertini at a press conference on Wednesday.
Back in 2009, investigators said Fox was drag racing in a Ford Mustang on Bayfront Expressway near Facebook’s headquarters. They said he approached Willow Road at 80 miles per hour, blew past a red light and struck the car of the Xavier family. Six-year-old Lisa Xavier was in the back seat.
After the collision, the young girl laid in the backseat with critical injuries while Fox jumped into the other car, which he was racing against, and took off before police and firefighters arrived.
Lisa’s mother was severely injured in the crash, too. Paramedics took Lisa Xavier to the hospital, where she died the next day.
Detectives said that Fox crossed the Mexican border shortly after the crash and somehow made it to Guatemala. He likely had friends and family there that helped him lay low for the next seven years as a fugitive.
“He had a residence, he had a job, he was living a relatively normal life,” said Chief Bertini.
In December 2016, with help from the FBI, Guatemalan authorities tracked Fox down and arrested him. Fox had been fighting the extradition for more than two years, and he finally lost when the Guatemalan Supreme Court rejected his appeal.
“To the family of Lisa: we assure you that men and women of the Menlo Park Police Department have never forgotten your loss you suffered that afternoon. We all know that justice delayed is justice denied. So the officers and investigators here today worked tirelessly and tenaciously to bring this man to justice, and I thank them all for that,” said Bertini.
The grand jury charges that Fox faces are gross vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene from a gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and illegal street racing that ended with death or injury to an individual. If convicted on all counts, Fox could face 12 years in state prison.