Karen and Craig Martin, the parents of a 25-year-old Texas man who died in a car fire last year when Border Patrol agents fired a Taser dart into the vehicle, have recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a San Diego federal court.
On March 15, 2012, Border Patrol agents spotted a car driving the wrong way on Interstate 8, near Buckman Springs Road. When the vehicle, driven by Alex Martin, exited near Old Highway 80, agents used a spike strip to deflate the car’s tires. One of the agents, who has not been identified, fired a Taser dart into the vehicle once it had stopped and the car promptly burst into flames. Martin died in the resulting explosion.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Martins by a San Diego attorney, cites the manufacturer of the Taser clearly stating that the device should not be used in areas that potentially contain flammable gases or fumes. The suit says that either the spike strip, or the rough terrain at the side of Old Highway 80 where the vehicle came to rest, could have ruptured a gas tank line and led to the release of flammable materials.
The investigation into Martin’s death is ongoing. To date, laboratory analysis by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department has examined some of the materials from the destroyed vehicle and concluded that there was nothing flammable on them.
None of the agents involved in the incident have been identified by Border Patrol, who is referring questions related to the investigation to the Sheriff’s Department. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the wrongful death allegations posed by the lawsuit.
San Diego personal injury attorney Melinda Helbock is experienced in handling cases similar to the family of Alex Martin’s. If you or someone you love is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact Melinda today to learn more about her services.
*Please note: Melinda Helbock is not representing the family in this case.