Street race victim dies, drivers face charges

Source: KCRA Channel 3
Date: 2002/05/02

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Counselors will be on hand at Natomas High School Friday to help students cope with the death of Marisol Torres.

The 16-year-old Natomas student was taken off life support late Thursday night after being critically injured in a street race.

The alleged race ended with a car slamming into a tree near Bridgeford Drive and San Juan Road. Another driver reportedly fled the scene. Police have arrested who they believe is the second driver, a 16-year-old boy. He is being charged with hit-and-run and felony reckless driving.

Police said that one of the vehicles roared down the quiet neighborhood and clipped a tree in front of a house Wednesday, throwing Torres from the car.

The girl was wearing her seat belt, but it was ripped away and embedded in a tree during the crash.

"I couldn't believe, you know, seeing a tree, a car hit a tree, and seeing a young lady laying on the sidewalk in the street, and debris flying all over the place, and a car turning two or three times before it came to a stop. "I was like speechless," witness James Johnson said.

Authorities said the driver of the Ford Mustang, Ramon Martinez, 19, and the other vehicle were speeding at an estimated 70 mph to 90 mph. Pieces of the Mustang were scattered all over the street and on a house's lawn.

Martinez was taken into custody.

Police said both drivers are facing manslaughter charges.

Teen To Stand Trial For 
Alleged Street Racing Death

Victim's Family Calls For Firm Action

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Five months ago, a 16-year-old was killed during an alleged street race in Sacramento. The teen accused of driving the vehicle was told by a judge Thursday that he must now stand trial.

Ramon Martinez's defense attorney refused to let his client answer any questions, saying he tries his cases in a courtroom, not a hallway.

Martinez is accused of engaging in a nearly 70-mph chase through a North Sacramento neighborhood last May, ultimately losing control and wrapping his red mustang around a tree. A passenger in the vehicle, 16-year-old Marisol Torres, was killed.

"All this nightmare could have been avoided had he just stopped and not made the decision to race with the other person," said Torres' uncle, Rodolfo Torres.

Torres' family is pleading with prosecutors to be firm with Martinez and to use him as an example to stop other street racers.

"Hopefully, they'll send a message to teenagers that if you commit a crime, you'll have to pay for it. That's the way I see it," Rodolfo Torres said.

Martinez' trial is set to begin in October.



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