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Ailahni Sanchez Martinez, 2, Killed by Truck with 3-Year-Old at the Wheel at Woodland Gas Station on West, Court St

Woodland, CA – The Sacramento Bee reports on a heartbreaking collision on Saturday, March 16, 2024, in which a 3-year-old child caused a truck to roll forward and kill 2-year-old Ailahni Sanchez Martinez.

Around 3:45 PM, Ailahni’s parents, Rosa Martinez and Sandro Sanchez, were setting up their family’s taco stand at the 76 gas station at the intersection of West and Court Street and had sat her at a table where she was eating some of her family’s tacos.

Meanwhile, another parent left his 3-year-old child in the seat of a black Dodge pickup truck with the engine idling while he stepped inside to pre-pay for his gas. According to the Woodland Police Department, the 3-year-old climbed out of their seat and moved to the driver seat while unattended. While playing with the truck controls, they caused the truck to begin rolling backward, away from the gas pump and toward Ailahni.

To onlookers who watched the terrible fatality unfold, it appeared as if the Dodge were moving by itself when it struck and killed Ailahni. The owner of the Dodge remained at the scene and cooperated with authorities when they arrived.

The family of Ailahni Sanchez Martinez has set up a GoFundMe to help raise money for her burial costs.

Wrongful Death and Parental Civil Liability

The loss of a loved one carries a heavy burden that magnifies when that loved one is a child with her whole life ahead of her. No amount of money can heal that loss, but the unexpected costs associated with giving our loved ones proper burial should be addressed by those responsible for their death. Even in cases where criminal charges are not pursued, a wrongful death claim with the insurance providers of the parties at fault may award compensation that can alleviate the financial burdens of a loved one’s death.

A case like that above becomes additionally difficult due to another child setting the vehicle in motion. Some of the issues of liability that may be considered are that of Negligent Supervision, in which a parent should have been aware that their child needed to have their actions restrained to keep from harming another, or the Family Car Doctrine, in which responsibility for harm caused with a motor vehicle falls upon the owner of that vehicle.

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help to sort through questions of liability in such a case, while conscientious toward the sensitive nature of such an accident.

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