Driver In Fatal Accident To Be Sentenced Friday


The driver who killed three members of a Payson family will be sentenced today, Friday, in Maricopa County Superior Court by Judge Michael Gordon.


The man convicted of killing Simon Berglund, left, his mother, Pernilla Goddard, and her stepson, William, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

Rigoberto Arrazola, 30, faces 16 to 21 years in prison and deportation to his native country of Mexico when he is released.

Arrazola pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter, two counts of endangerment and one count of aggravated assault Feb. 27 in the chambers of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Ronald Reinstein.

At a settlement conference held two days earlier, Reinstein explained the possible jail time Arrazola was facing if he pleaded guilty.

"I wish it wasn't so long, it's a long time," he said at the time.

Since he pleaded guilty, Arrazola has been held in Maricopa County Jail. After the sentence is handed down he will serve it in an Arizona Department of Corrections facility.

Dave Goddard, whose wife, Pernilla Palin Goddard, 39, stepson Simon Berglund, 14, and son William Goddard, 13, were killed in the July 24 accident on Beeline Highway, said he would attend the sentencing.

Arrazola hinted in his settlement conference that he might apologize to Dave Goddard.

"I wish I could talk to the family. This has been real hard," he said.

In a letter Arrazola wrote to a Phoenix family who had offered guidance to him, the accused man said he was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but moved to California when he was five years old. In 1998, he moved to Phoenix and eventually bought a home. Later, his parents, three brothers and a sister left California to join him in Phoenix.

Arrazola was the chief financial provider for the family.

"We were very happy," he wrote. "We lived there until this tragic accident happened. My family loves me so much that they sacrificed the house and sold it to get me a lawyer. In our family we have so much love."

The accident occurred about 7:30 p.m. after Arrazola failed to yield to oncoming traffic at the intersection of the Bush and Beeline highways.

Arrazola's westbound SUV collided with a northbond vehicle driven by Dave Goddard.

Goddard's wife and stepson died at the scene of the accident. William Goddard was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix where he later died.

Goddard and his daughter Alexandrea, 12, were transported to Maricopa Medical Center and treated for internal injuries. Both were released a day later.

A blood sample taken from Arrazola measured .080 percent alcohol, or the exact legal minimum needed to charge a driver with driving impaired.

DPS officers said, however, the blood alcohol content (BAC) was probably much higher at the time of the accident. In the length of time it took to obtain a search warrant to draw blood from Arrazola (three to four hours), the alcohol concentration dropped significantly, they believed.

Arrazola was held in Maricopa County Jail from the time of the accident until Jan. 13 when he was able to post a $35,000 bond that had been lowered from $180,000.

Some suspected that when Arrazola was released on bond he might flee to Mexico.

Following the settlement conference, Reinstein warned Arrazola -- after agreeing to allow him to have a weekend free to explain the situation to his family -- that should he flee, his trial would go on without him. However, Arrazola showed up in court as agreed and was taken into custody.

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