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Toddler was behind the wheel during crash that killed 2-year-old in California

A toddler was behind the wheel of a truck that killed 2-year-old Ailahni Sanchez Martinez, police say. | KCRA via CNN Newsource
WOODLAND, California (KCRA) — Investigators have determined that a toddler was behind the wheel of a truck that hit and killed a 2-year-old girl over the weekend in Woodland, police said on Monday.
Woodland police said the truck’s owner had left it running while parked at a 76 gas station’s pump and had gone inside the store on Saturday before the crash. The owner left their 3-year-old child in a car seat in the back of the vehicle.
The child was able to get out of their car seat and moved into the driver’s seat, police said. The truck then began moving until it hit the 2-year-old who was near her parent’s taco stand on the edge of the lot.
The crash was reported around 3:45 p.m. Saturday in the 300 block of West Street off of West Main Street.
The family of the child who was killed identified her as Ailahni Sanchez Martinez.
Ailahni’s parents, Rosa Martinez and Sandro Sanchez, told KCRA 3 she was just a month away from her third birthday.
“She was always happy, she loved to dance and brought joy to the family,” her mother Rosa Martinez said.
Ailahni’s parents told KCRA 3 that they were setting up their taco stand when they saw the truck moving backward toward their daughter.
“He left the vehicle running and with a child inside,” said Sanchez. “What happened is not right.”
“We want justice,” said Sanchez. “I lost my daughter because of someone else.”
Police said everyone involved in the tragedy has been cooperating with the investigation.
Criminal negligence charges are possible but no one has been arrested yet.
As Sandro asks for justice, law professor Michael Vitiello tells KCRA 3 that tragedies like these tend to be contentious. “That’s a freakish accident. 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,” Vitiello said when referring to the criminal aspect of cases like these.
The completed investigation will be sent to the District Attorney’s office for review, police said. So far, the driver of the truck has not faced any charges. The crash is being investigated as a traffic collision.
Family members who own another food truck went out to the same gas station in hopes of donating all Monday proceeds to the family.
“Any money or any kind of financial thing is probably not the best solution. But at least, it’s a little help towards the funeral,” said Bryan Ayala, who donated his time to the fundraiser.
The family is expecting to have Ailahni’s funeral on March 27. Her fourth birthday would have been on April 29. The family is still planning to host a birthday party in her honor.

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The post Toddler was behind the wheel during crash that killed 2-year-old in California appeared first on East Idaho News.

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