Toddler left alone in running truck at gas station accidentally ran over 2-year-old and killed her, California police say

News & Politics

California police said that a toddler left unattended inside of a running truck accidentally ran over a 2-year-old and killed her.

Police said they were called to the lethal crash at a 76 gas station on West Street on Saturday.

The owner of a black Dodge truck had left it on while rushing inside of the store at the station, leaving a 3-year-old in a car seat in the back of the vehicle. That child was able to crawl to the front of the truck and get into the driver’s seat.

The truck rolled over a 2-year-old who had been standing near her parents’ taco stand in the gas station lot, investigators said.

“We learned that the family had transported the child to the hospital, and the child ultimately was pronounced deceased,” said Woodland Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Richard Towle.

The child was identified as Ailahni Sanchez Martinez. The parents of the child, Rosa Martinez and Sandro Sanchez, spoke to KCRA-TV about the tragedy.

“She was always happy, she loved to dance and brought joy to the family,” said her mother.

They said that they were setting up their taco shop when they saw the truck rolling backward toward their daughter.

“He left the vehicle running and with a child inside. What happened is not right,” said the child’s father. “We went justice. I lost my daughter because of someone else.”

Investigators said that criminal negligence charges are being considered and that everyone involved in the tragedy is cooperating with police.

Law professor Michael Vitiello told KCRA that charges are unlikely in such a case.

“That’s a freakish accident,” said Vitiello. “We don’t put people in prison for freakish accidents. Yes, there’s real harm, but that’s why the tort system compensates innocent victims. Putting someone in prison does not help the family who has lost a child.”

Police are reviewing surveillance video from the gas station as part of their investigation. The case will be referred to the district attorney’s office for possible charges.

A different food truck owner set up shop at the spot of the tragedy and said he would donate all proceeds to help the grieving family.

The child’s parents said she was only a month away from her third birthday. They were planning a birthday party but instead will have to plan a vigil in her memory.

Here’s a local news report about the tragedy:

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