78. Apopka teen backing up SUV in family driveway hits toddler who wandered outside -- killing her

Top 100 Stories of 2013 Daytona Beach-Orlando Metro Area / Headline Surfer®

Toddler death in Apopka, Florida / Headline Surfer / HeadlineSurfer.comAmaris Martinez, 2, tragically run over in family driveway in Apopka July 17, 2013 / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® graphic /
Amaris Martinez,  just eight days shy of her second birthday, was accidentally run over and killed July 17, in her family's driveway in the 300 block of Avalone Drive in Apopka as shown in this snapshot locator map. 

APOPKA -- A 16-year-old boy was backing up his family's SUV in the driveway of his relative's residence, not knowing that in an instant his life would be changed forever.

The teen had no idea that Amaris Martinez, nearly 2, had wandered out of her family's home in the 300 block of Avalone Drive, just as he was backing up the vehicle the afternoon of July 17, striking the toddler, troopers said.

The tragic toddler death comes in at No. 78 in the Headline Surfer® countdown of the top 100 stories of 2013.

Little Amaris Martinez, just eight days shy of her second birthday, was rushed by paramedics to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando where she succumbed to her critical head injuries less than an hour after the 3:20 p.m. accident, FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said.

Little Amaris Martinez was rushed by paramedics to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando where she succumbed to her critical head injuries less than an hour after the 3:20 p.m. accident, FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said.

The 2000 Ford sport utility vehicle was put in reverse by the teen when in a split second the child was struck by the left rear tire and run over in the process, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

The FHP report pointed out the teen had backed up the SUV after mowing the lawn so he could clean the driveway, not knowing the child had wandered from the side of the house.

Headline Surfer® has not identified the young driver because of his age and the tragic circumstances.

In an online obituary tribute listing for Amaris Martinez, her father, Jose A. Martinez, wrote: "My sleeping angel you will always be in my heart you left me and your mother beautiful memories i miss you baby girl your loving dad."

Amaris's mother, Maritza Espinoza, wrote: "You will always be in my heart baby girl."

A person who identified herself as "Eileen," wrote: "Martinez Family, Hola, I am too so sorry. I have had to suffer similar situation in the past. I truly know your hearts at this time. May the God of comfort be with you in this time. 11 Corinthians 1:3."

Obituary: Amaris Adalice Martinez-Espinoza, July 9, 2011 - July 17, 2013

Amaris Martinez, 2, killed in gamily driveway in Apopka July 17, 2013 / Headline Surfer®Amaris Adalice Martinez-Espinoza, just shy of 2, tragically passed away on July 17, 2013. She was born in Orlando and lived in Apopka. She is survived by her parents; Maritza Espinoza and Jose Martinez; and her sisters LiLicina Marie Diaz-Espinoza and Julissa Jezlyn Martinez-Espinoza. Services were held in the Hamlin & Hilbish Chapel on Sunday, July 21, with Pastor Nelson Otero officiating. Interment followed in Greenwood Cemetery, Eustis.

Counting 'em down: Headline Surfer® Ranking of the Top 100 Stories of 2013

Top 100 Stories of 2013 Daytona Beach-Orlando Metro Area / Headline Surfer®


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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.