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Strangers seek to help baby girl orphaned in crash

Mother and father of one-year-old died in crash on Highway 14 last week

Posted: July 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.

This photo of Felicia Martinez, provided by her family, shows the Palmdale woman with a cake for her daughter, Violeta, who was the only survivor in the crash that killed her father and Martinez last week.

Women profoundly affected by reports of a baby girl orphaned in an Acton traffic collision last week have expressed a desire to somehow help the little girl who survived and contribute to a fund in her name, The Signal has learned.

On Tuesday night, Violeta Martinez — who just turned 1 year old recently — was pulled from the wreckage of her family’s car after it crashed on the Highway 14 freeway near Santiago Road.

Her father and mother, Ivan Ramirez and Felicia Martinez, both 31 of Palmdale, died as a result of injuries suffered in the single-car crash.

“I read your article in The Signal (Thursday) about Violeta Martinez being orphaned,” wrote Cheryl Denham in an email sent to The Signal. “I had the idea of starting up a local charity fund for Violeta.

“This is something I’ve never participated in before and I thought you might know information on how to get this started,” she said.

Denham wasn’t the only one moved to action.

“It breaks my heart,” Judy Enricas told The Signal on the phone Wednesday. “How do I make a donation?”

Enricas said she’s seen her share of bad drivers speeding on Highway 14 where the fatal crash happened.

“I get really scared driving that highway,” she said. “I live in Victorville and I go up and down that hill. Last week, I saw a guy racing two other guys.

“I want to make a donation,” she said.

Good Samaritans

Violeta Martinez was riding in the car northbound with her parents shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday when the Ford Focus hit the guard rail, “continued forward and struck a large metal pole just west of the guard rail, causing major damage to the vehicle,” Antelope Valley California Highway Officer R.S. Tamayo said in his initial report.

More than half a dozen people stopped their cars immediately after it happened and ran to the aid of the car’s occupants, said a Santa Clarita Valley woman Wednesday who witnessed the rescue efforts.

“I saw a man pulling a little girl from the car,” said the woman, who wished to be identified only by her first name, Amanda. “Two other men were yelling, ‘The baby! The baby!’

“I also saw a woman who went to her car and got a blanket,” Amanda said. “She wrapped the girl in the blanket.
“The baby was screaming and crying,” she said.

Anna Vasquez was one of those who ran to the aid of the occupants in the Martinez car after it crashed. She held tiny Violeta in her arms, wrapped in a towel that she grabbed from her car.

“I held the baby girl the whole time,” Vasquez told The Signal Sunday. “I had her the whole time until the paramedics came and took care of her.”

Violeta Martinez was airlifted and taken to County-USC Medical Center.

Deeply affected by the incident, Vasquez said she wanted to reach out to the family and help in some way.

Others, like Mary Gonzales, wanted to thank the “good Samaritans” like Vasquez who helped Violeta that night.

“I’ve prayed and will keep praying for that little girl and her family,” she said. “It seems that all we read about are bad things that happen in life and how people have no heart and no care but this story gives me hope that people care about others more than themselves.

“Thanks to all the good Samaritans that helped this little girl and her family,” she said.


Danielle Rundle, now 27, was five years old when a traffic collision killed her mother and her sister.

“I felt immediately connected with that baby,” she said Sunday. “And I wanted to reach out to her family.

“I figure if there’s anything I can do in this terrible time for them — I feel so sorry for the baby,” she said.
“Maybe they can get some sort of peace, or solace.”

On Thursday, relatives and officers of the California Highway Patrol reported that Violeta was recovering at County-USC Medical Center, had suffered a broken leg in the crash and was scheduled to undergo surgery that day.

Antelope Valley CHP Officer Jeremy Picker said Thursday that the baby was not alone and members of her extended family have rallied around her.

Violeta’s grandmother was at her hospital bedside Thursday, he said.

“We’ve had siblings of the mother come forward to, basically, take custody of her,” Picker said Thursday. “They’re talking amongst themselves to sort out how it will be done.”

In the meantime, however, strangers continue to reach out in an effort to help.

An investigation into the crash is continuing.
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