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Dad Who Lost Wife and 2 Kids In Street Racing Crash Files $100-million Lawsuit


An El Monte dad has filed a $100-million lawsuit against two men whose street-racing caused the deaths of his wife and two young children. The Whittier Daily News reports that Stephen Groce has also named Nissan North America in the product liability lawsuit stating that the 2002 Nissan Altima Dora Groce was driving at the time of the fiery crash on Oct. 16 had a defective fuel tank that exploded and caused the deaths.

The lawsuit announcement came on Tuesday, only two hours after the two men suspected of causing the crash – Martin Marones, 21 and Robert Canizalez, 19 – were charged with three counts of murder and face 15 years to life in prison for each one of those counts. Canizalez was arrested at the scene, but Marones fled, crossed the border and went into hiding at an aunt’s place in Mexico. He was arrested and brought back to the United States earlier this week, according to news reports.

Dora Groce was reportedly driving her children, ages 8 and 4, to a doctor’s appointment when the two men, who were involved in a street race on a residential street, broadsided her Altima. Groce’s car was pushed into a stopped pickup truck and burst into flames with the family inside. According to the article, autopsy reports show the mom died on impact, but that the children died because of the fire.

An attorney for the plaintiff explained to reporters that there were two factors in the incident: 1. The collision and 2. The explosion and the fire. The product liability aspect of this lawsuit claims that Nissan is liable for defects in the fuel system that caused the explosion and consequently the fire that killed the children.

Groce’s attorney also told reporters that this lawsuit will hopefully teach a lesson to prospective street racers that their foolish and reckless actions will have consequences and that those consequences include financial ruin. For these two men, it also includes a very long time in prison.

It is hard to tell if this man will ever recover from losing his beautiful family to the whims of two men whose only concern was to gratify their need for a cheap thrill. Personal injury lawsuits often have dollar signs attached to them. Sometimes they’re specified amounts, but most of the time, they are “unspecified.” But the reason those dollar signs are there is to make people pay for their wrongful actions. In this case, if the evidence shows that Nissan made a defective product, the corporation must pay for making that product.

In a sense, it is these types of lawsuits that remind us that in a mostly unjust, unfair world there is still hope and the possibility of justice for the common man.

By: Staff Writer

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12 responses to “Dad Who Lost Wife and 2 Kids In Street Racing Crash Files $100-million Lawsuit”

  1. M Canizalez says:

    First of all it was an accident and there were not racing.Martin Morones and Robert Canizalez were two very responsible hard working men.Who never in a million years would hurt anyone.We are all very sorry for the Groce Family’s lost of there loved ones.

  2. Roberts Friend says:

    This is a total tragedy and is a lose lose situation for everybody. I went to school with Robert and he was a good guy I know for a fact he would never hurt anyone… He made a mistake and we all do. Unfortunately him going to jail for the rest of his life will not bring the Groce’s family back… He will forever deal with what he has done and putting a good man who made one mistake away forever is wrong… I feel the Mr. Groce and I know there is nothing I can say to make him feel better and I am sorry that this has happened. But Robert was a good guy and he should not have to be in jail for the rest of his life… he will always remeber what he did and who he hurt and he has to live with that for the rest of his life… Isnt that enough?

  3. Anonymous says:

    What about steohen who will never get to see his family.But has to live with what these men did.

  4. Debra Peck says:

    I am a relative of Stephen Groce. This is a great loss to the entire family. The two men that caused that accidebnt will never understand the loss no matter how much time they send in jail, but they should be held accountable. No matter how bad they feel they will never understand not to have there family to come home to. Mistakes are made and lives are lost and now they must be held accountable no matter how nice of men they are. Stephen will never get to see hsi daughter walk down the isle, or his son graduate from college. See his wife on there 50th anniversary and that is the biggest tragedy of them all.

  5. Mike Nolan says:

    I can not ever remember not knowing Steve. I was fortunate enough to be present at his and Dora’s wedding and I can tell you that his family was his world. Was this an accident… yes, but let’s remember, accidents can be avoided and this one certainly should have been. Just that fact that both of the individuals involved tried to flee the seen, one made it to Mexico, proves that they were not willing to take responsibility for their actions. It is in these cases that we as society must make them pay and with the loss so great…. pay dearly. It is not like Steve searched these two down and was able to take their freedom away, I know that he would rather they had their freedom and for him to have his Family and they, but that is an impossibility. I will be there for my freind, when ever he needs me, but I know that he will always wish he had his family.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Stephen is my brother and Catherine and Robert were my niece and nephew. Dora was the most protective mother I have ever known in my life. At their birth, she placed a bible at the top of their beds to protect them from evil. She never let them out to play alone and kept them away as safe as she possibly could. Until the summer of 2007, she never left them with anyone. That summer she allowed me to watch them while she and Stephen went out to dinner. That was a major step for her!

  7. Roberts family says:

    all though the big tragedy we now the big loss of the groces family hurt them really bad.we are very sad & we understand the pain that the groce family is having,we now that we can’t do anything for the love they had for the family and we can’t do anything for the people that died in the fire to come back.We pray to Jehova our god so we could all have peace we now that the justice is going to be done.

  8. MoronesLOL says:

    well well well, looks like these scumbag murderers will do 40+ years each.

  9. PML says:

    Society will be better served by locking these guys up for a few decades. Yes, it won’t bring back the victims in the accidents, but prison term will serve as an example for those who may want to engage in reckless behaviors.

  10. Someone who knew Robert and Martin says:

    I hung out with both of these individuals. On several occasions, they dispalyed behavior that demonstrated antisocial behavior. They have no regard for anyone but themselves. Good guys? I beg to differ. As someone that considered to be a friend, even I was a target of their callous behavior. They deserve the sentences they received. If this hadn’t happened, I’m sure they still would have ended up a part of the correctional system at some point.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I grew up in brookside with martin and used to talk to robert aswell even though they didn’t wish to hurt anyone I feel they do need to be held accountable I now have babies and see it thru the victims side put urself in his side what if someone took ur kids from u in that horrific way….

  12. someone who hung out with both of them says:

    I hung out with Robert when he was younger, and him and his brother had a tough life growing up, I always knew they would end up bad, the sister was a hood rat and slept around with lots of EMF members. Martin worked at the Mobiles and never was disrespectful but also was involved in EMF. His brother is now also headed that way. I feel sorry for the families involved in this tragedy. But have no sympathy for Robert or Martin, they weren’t kids and they knew what they were doing, and for others saying it was a mistake, then they should have thought it out before they decided to race.

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