San Diego

San Diego mom sues after suspected DUI crash-turned-electrical fire killed daughter

The daughter tried to push a crashed car off electrical boxes, which sent hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity through her body and set her on fire

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A San Diego mom is suing San Diego Gas & Electric, the city and county of San Diego and Caltrans after her daughter was killed when a suspected DUI driver crashed with an electrical box last summer.

The family's lawyer told NBC7 V'Ctorea Sanders was in the back seat of the vehicle when her friend crashed into electrical boxes on Euclid Ave. Sanders tried to push the car off the boxes, which sent hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity through her body and set her on fire.

Hours after the crash, Sanders’ mom, Angela Turner, got a card on her door telling her to call the county.

“I'm like, what is this for?” Turner wondered. “You know, it didn't say ‘county coroner’ or anything like that.”

With no clues about what happened, she still knew something was wrong and started searching online.

“I saw something, and it just read, ‘person killed by electrocution.’” She said. “I just got this gut-wrenching feeling in my belly.”

She drove out to the crash site in the article and found SDG&E crews still working.

"As I stood there, the spirit of the lord said 'this is her resting place.’” Turner said. “So then, there was a gentleman standing there... He came back and he said, ‘nobody called you?’ And I said, ‘no.’ He said, ‘how did you come up here?’ I said ‘the spirit of the lord sent me here.’ And he was like, ‘wow.’”

Turner said she doesn’t know how long it may have taken to find out about her daughter if she didn’t go out there herself.  

“After I got off the phone with them, I just screamed,” Turner said. “I just screamed. That's all I could do.”

She’s suing the agencies for multiple things including negligence and the boxes being in dangerous locations.

“I was floored,” said Turner’s lawyer Dante Pride. “I mean, there should never be a chance for a citizen to come in contact with that much electricity… Hundreds of thousands of volts.”

The fire made Sanders’ body unrecognizable and Pride said her death could have been avoided.

Turner worked for SDG&E for 20 years.

"It's not my first time suing them and it won't be my last,” Turner said. “But, what doesn't feel good about it, I have to sue you for taking it for my child's life.”

She wants safety barriers put up around every electrical box in the county.

She also wants the driver, who was allegedly drunk, to be held accountable and for her daughter’s death to not be in vain.

“As long as I'm on this earth, I’ve gotta fight to make sure justice prevails for her,” Turner said. “I realize that that's all that I've been doing. And I'm on the battlefield.”

NBC 7 reached out to all four agencies being sued for a statement response. The city hasn’t responded yet.

SDG&E said, "This was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time. We cannot comment on pending litigation."

The county and Caltrans also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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