By the Daily Post staff
Menlo Park police said today (Aug. 28) that a wanted fugitive has been arrested in the Nov. 12, 2009, hit-and-run death of 6-year-old Lisa Xavier.
Police said that Shannon Steven Fox — who fled the country — has been arrested in connection with Lisa’s death, which occurred during a street race at the corner of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road in Menlo Park.
Police said at the time that Fox was driving one of two cars that were racing on Bayfront Expressway, and that he ran a red light and crashed into the blue Toyota Camery carrying Xavier and her parents, who were crossing the expressway.
After the crash, Fox jumped into the passenger seat of the other car in the race and they sped away, leaving Lisa and her mom suffering from life-threatening injuries, Menlo Park police Sgt. William Dixon said at the time. The victims were rushed to Stanford Hospital, where Lisa later died.
Police will hold a news conference tomorrow (Aug. 29) to provide details on the capture, arrest and extradition of Fox, according to an announcement this afternoon.
In 2007 at the same intersection, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam was killed as the car carrying him turned left from the expressway to Willow and another car headed south crashed into them.
From the Post archives: Emotional vigil for Lisa Xavier, killed in hit-and-run crash
Published: Dec. 10, 2009
BY DAVID DeBOLT
Daily Post Staff Writer
Shivering in 30 degree weather, parents and children as young as 5 held candles and held back tears as they remembered a 6-year-old girl, who had a smile as big as her personality.
At a candle-light vigil at Laurel Elementary School in Atherton, family friends shared stories — some which forced smiles, others that brought tears — about Lisa Xavier, the bubbly, long-haired first grader, killed in a hit-and-run accident nearly a month ago.
Parent Dr. Kellen Glinder, whose daughter attended class with Xavier, asked the crowd to take a deep breath, and then let out a smile.
“Because if Lisa was here, we’d all be smiling,” Glinder told the crowd. “She’s here. She’s in our hearts.”
Lisa died Nov. 13, the day after the driver of a Ford Mustang ran a red light on Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road and smashed into the passenger side of her family’s Toyota Camry.
After the accident, the driver, who police believe to be Shannon Fox, 24, of East Palo Alto, abandoned the Mustang and jumped into another car.
Menlo Park police suspect the two cars were racing down Bayfront before the accident. Police are still looking for Fox.
As mourners began trickling onto the grassy field behind the school, Lisa’s mother, Shiji Varghese, with tears running down her cheeks, walked slowly along a table filled with pictures of her daughter, reaching her index finger out to press against the frames’ glass.
Varghese, who was sitting in the passenger seat in front of her daughter, was badly injured but recovered.
Her father, Charles Suresh, was driving the car at the time of the accident.
Lesley Heller, a first-grade parent who volunteered in Lisa’s class, remembered Lisa for her humor.
After her son received an invite to Lisa’s birthday party at the beginning of this school year, Heller told her they were really excited to attend.
To which Lisa replied, “Oh, I already had it.”
Of course, Lisa was only kidding.
“I had told so many of my friends about this darling angel that had touched my day and ever since then I had teased her back and forth,” Heller said.
“I hope that many of you can remember Lisa for the funny things and the ways she touched your life.”
Lisa had also become a big part of her neighbors’ lives. John Reid, a Daily News sports writer who lives in the same apartment complex as her family on Coleman Avenue in Menlo Park, said: “Not only did these people.devastate a beautiful family, they devastated a very close complex.”
Since the accident, police followed leads that he may be hiding in the Sacramento Valley, but no arrests have been made.
“People need to own up to their actions,” said Menlo Park councilman Heyward Robinson, who was mayor at the time of her death and attended last night’s vigil. “Anyone that helps to hide these guys and protect them needs to be responsible too.”
At the close of the vigil, the candles, one by one, were extinguished, leaving the field dark except for one small tree. The tree, covered in string of white lights, was dedicated to Lisa and the school plans to light it for a month each year to remember the 6-year-old.