Toddler dies after being run over by truck in Apopka, FHP says

16-year-old driver backs over girl in driveway, troopers say

Published On: Jul 17 2013 05:28:35 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 18 2013 12:30:38 PM EDT
Toddler run over, killed
APOPKA, Fla. -

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say a toddler was run over and killed in a tragic accident by her teenage uncle who does not have a driver's license.

The accident happened in the driveway at an Apopka home on Avalone Drive.

Troopers were called out to the home around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators said Luis Martinez, 16, had just finished mowing his family's lawn to spruce up the yard for his niece's upcoming birthday party.

Troopers said Martinez decided to back up a silver Ford Expedition just a few feet to clean grass clippings off the driveway, when somehow 2-year-old Amaris Martinez wandered behind the vehicle.

"All in all, it's a tragedy," said FHP Cpl. Kristen Neutzling. "It tears at your heart no matter who it is, whether you know them or you don't know them, it is just a tragedy and this family will never be the same."

Troopers said the accident is still under investigation and even though the teenager does not have a driver's license, he may not have been committing a crime since he was operating the vehicle on private property.

"Honestly, I don't know. I don't know how it could have been prevented in this situation other than just check and double check," said Neutzling.

"I saw him basically go to his knees in the street crying and I knew something was going on then," said Richard Shoemaker, Martinez's neighbor.

Shoemaker was there as police and family responded to the scene. He said he sees children riding their bikes and playing outside all the time.

"I have nieces and nephews and I'm thinking, that's kind of scary," said Shoemaker.