The traffic death of a promising Austin teen

·2 min read

One Monday evening earlier this month, Aaliyah Martinez, a 16-year-old from Hutto and beloved daughter, sister, friend, classmate and teammate on the high school soccer squad, was driving on a North Austin overpass when she lost control of her 2004 Honda CRV.

Details: Austin police have not said what led to the accident.

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The big picture: There were approximately 970 crashes involving a teenage driver in the last year across Austin, per new figures from the city's Transportation Department.

  • Of those, more than 50 wrecks resulted in serious injuries or death.

Driving the news: It's National Teen Driver Safety Week, aimed at raising awareness of dangers on the road.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives parents tips to talk about safe driving behaviors with their children.

  • "New drivers are less experienced and more susceptible to dangerous situations, putting themselves and others at risk," said Austin Court Clerk Mary Jane Grubb, who wasn't speaking specifically about Martinez's death.

  • Car crashes account for nearly one-third of all teen deaths in America each year, per the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

  • The Austin Municipal Court found that in the last 18 months, 328 tickets were issued to teenage drivers age 16 and younger. More than 40% of those were involved in crashes.

The evening of Oct. 4, Martinez was traveling southbound on the U.S. 183 Flyover near State Highway 45, per police reports.

  • After striking a concrete wall, the CRV rolled over and fell nearly 100 feet to the roadway below.

  • Martinez was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased at 12:40am, nearly four hours after the crash.

  • It marked Austin's 90th fatal car crash in 2021; through early October 2020, there were 65.

A couple nights later, the Hutto Hippos honored Martinez, a member of the ladies soccer team who wore No. 22, during their road game against the Round Rock Dragons.

A Hutto football player wears a slogan that says "Long Live Aaliyah." Photo courtesy of Hutto ISD.

A decal on the back of a Hutto Hippo football helmet stands for Long Live Aaliyah, who played soccer at the school. Photo courtesy of Hutto ISD.

The school's football players displayed the slogan "Long Live Aaliyah," or "LLA," on their uniforms and helmets.

  • In a pre-game ceremony, players gathered around a wide banner that showed pictures of Martinez growing up, as the PA announcement remembered how she "excelled on the field and in the classroom."

"RIP Aaliyah Marie Martinez ❤️ you had so much life left ahead of you & you were doing great things," Shorty Martinez wrote on Facebook about the person Shorty called "little sis."

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