Trial In Deaths Of Payson Woman And Two Sons Is Dec. 12

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The driver who killed three members of a Payson family is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 12 in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

Rigoberto C. Arrazola, 31 of Phoenix, faces three charges of manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault and four counts of endangerment.

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Pernilla Goddard

He has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held in Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail.

A trial management conference will be held Dec. 5, also in Superior Court. At the conference, a judge will decide if both sides are prepared and ready to proceed to trial.

"The judge has to consider any motions to continue, if the defense isn't ready to go," Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Bill Fitzgerald said. "If either of the parties are in another trial, the court will usually grant a short continuance.

Following the accident, which occurred about 7:30 p.m. July 24, Department of Public Safety officers obtained a search warrant to draw blood from Arrazola.

The Payson Roundup has filed a public records request for the blood alcohol content results.

He was arrested at the scene and has been held in jail since.

According to DPS reports, the accident happened when Arrazola, returning from an outing at Saguaro Lake, drove through the intersection at Bush and Beeline highways.

Arrazola's sport utility vehicle collided with a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by David Goddard of Payson.

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William Goddard

Goddard said he saw Arrazola exiting onto Beeline, but was unable to avoid the collision.

"After he hit us, we started skidding and then rolled," Goddard said.

Police reports show Goddard's Tahoe skidded into the median and overturned near the northbound lanes.

Goddard's wife, Pernilla Goddard, 39, and stepson Simon Pallin Bergland, 14, were killed instantly.

His son, William Goddard, 13, was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix where he later died.

Goddard and his daughter, Alexandrea, 12, were taken to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix and discharged a day later.

Arrazola was not injured in the accident.

Goddard, who works for the California-based technology Novariant, moved to Payson just weeks before the accident.

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Simon Bergland

"We had just closed (escrow) on our new home," he said. "We wanted a new start in life, but got kind of short changed," he said.

Goddard is unsure whether he will be called upon to testify in the upcoming trial.

" I have not been asked to testify yet," he said. "The prosecution's assistant indicated that they may have sufficient evidence and eyewitnesses, where my testimony may not be required. Of course, that could change at any time."

The eulogy

Remembrance services for Pernilla and William Goddard and Simon Bergland were held Aug. 6 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Payson.

At the services, Dave Goddard delivered a moving, heart-felt eulogy.

In it, he said:

"I remember Lexi and I being released from the hospital and driving past the accident scene almost exactly 24 hours afterwards. I remember thinking about what a difference a day makes. In the time it takes to snap your fingers, everything that you had planned and worried over matters not one whit. In one brief instant, your life has completely and irreversibly changed.

"Three days before the accident, the boys were playing video games in the house and Pernilla was doing something in the kitchen as the sun was going down. They thought it was goofy in a parental sort of way, but I made them all come out on the deck with me and watch the sun as the horizon came up to greet it. In my best fatherly way, I explained to them that the average human lives through 25,000 sunsets, but most people only really sit and watch the sun go down about 50 times in their lives. I told them that when they were older, they would remember this particular one, and understand how each moment we are given is precious. If only we had known just how precious that sunset was.

"So I would like to ask all of you a favor. The next time you see the sun set -- Remember them. Remember William, Simon and Pernilla. Continue to let their passing be a force for good and a force for permanent change in your lives every time you see the sun go down. The next time you are angry with a loved one, take a deep breath and imagine not being able to be angry with them ever again. Release that breath and hold them tight."

See related stories:


Suspected DUI driver pleads not guilty (Aug. 16)


Grand jury drops murder charges (Aug. 9)


Driver who killed three Payson residents charged with murder (Aug. 5)


Mother, two children killed by suspected DUI driver (July 26)

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