Suspect in DUI death taken into custody 

Richard Tom, the accused drunken driver who allegedly caused a crash that killed an 8-year-old girl, was handcuffed and ordered into custody as the victim’s tearful family sat behind him in a courtroom Wednesday.

Tom, 45, will remain in custody until today, when a new bail and trial date will be set.

During Wednesday’s bail-motion hearing, prosecutors requested that Tom’s bail — initially set at $50,000 and posted by Tom the next day — be revoked due to a public safety risk. The decision was delayed because Tom’s lawyer, Bruce Kapsack, was absent due to another trial.

Tom’s initial bail of $50,000 is the standard bail for someone who caused injury while driving under the influence of alcohol, Deputy District Attorney Aaron Fitzgerald said.

On Feb. 19 at 8:18 p.m., police say, Tom’s silver Mercedes-Benz broadsided a Nissan Maxima at the intersection of Santa Clara Avenue and Woodside Road, killing 8-year-old Sydney Ng. Ng’s mother, the driver of the Maxima, and a 10-year-old sister, whose names are being withheld, also were hospitalized.

Tom pleaded not guilty on March 28 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

At Wednesday’s hearing, several relatives of the Ngs became emotional as Tom was led away. They later declined comment.

In a recent interview, Kapsack said Tom wasn’t drinking during the hours leading up to the crash. He said his client was driving home after dropping off his out-of-town friend to pick up a car. His friend was in another car following Tom when the crash occurred, Kapsack said.

"One of the factors was that there was a Dodge minivan parked in a way that it would have obstructed the view from each other," he said.

Tom, a Redwood City resident, doesn’t have a criminal record and is listed as "retired" in the district attorney’s computer log. He faces 13 years in prison if convicted, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

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