Crash victim was 'Mr. Versatility'

A Huntington Beach man who died after a car crashed into a Fountain Valley tutoring center was called an inspiration to his colleagues and students.

Alex Martinez, 32, was one of six people injured Aug. 19 when a 76-year-old man drove into the Tutoring Club at Brookhurst Street and Ellis Avenue, according to Fountain Valley police. Martinez died Aug. 21 from injuries sustained while he was trapped beneath the car.

He had been working at the center for almost seven years and was a source of motivation for his colleagues and students, Tutoring Club owner David Hill said.

He said Martinez, a UC Berkeley graduate, was the most well-rounded tutor he had and was able to teach multiple subjects.

"When we hire tutors, a lot of times they're very strong in specific areas, like science or math," Hill said. "He was our Mr. Versatility because he could tutor everything. He loved science and he loved math. He was fantastic at Spanish because he's a native Bolivian. He had this natural gift of not only teaching kids, but also being able to teach them life lessons."

Hill said Martinez had a knack for using his life story to help motivate students — he immigrated to the United States and worked his way up.

Hill said Martinez would tell his students: "You're lucky where you live. You're lucky with what you have. Just work your tail off."

Peter Hauk, the driver of the Buick LaCrosse that crashed into the building, has not been charged, according to Fountain Valley police Sgt. Kurt Ulrich.

Hauk drove his sedan nearly all the way through the Tutoring Center. The businesses across the street could be seen from the parking lot through the large hole created by the sedan.

Ulrich added that the conditions of the other victims remain unchanged. A 20-year-old man, who was also trapped beneath the car, suffered serious injuries. Two 15-year-old boys, a 67-year-old woman and the driver suffered minor injuries.

The Tutoring Club is typically closed this week, as students get used to the resumption of school, but one of the two suites at the facility was damaged in the accident and needs to be reconstructed, Hill said.

"Our plan right now is to be functioning again Sept. 3," he said. "Some of the local elementary schools have volunteered to help and allow us to have some extra space for the short-term until we rebuild the other side."

Despite losing one of his best tutors, Hill said moving on from this tragedy is something Martinez would have wanted.

"It inspires us to want to help more kids," Hill said. "I realized that we have a special place, and I think the parents realize that. If anything, we just want to be even better."

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World