New lawsuit filed against city, airport manager in 2021 Kerrville drag race crash

Three people died, including two children

SAN ANTONIO – The families of two people killed while watching a drag race in Kerrville in October 2021 have filed suit against the City of Kerrville, the Kerrville-Kerr County Joint Airport Board, and airport manager Mary Rohrer.

Santiago Martinez, 8, died at the scene, and his aunt, Rebecca Cedillo, died at a hospital days later.

Attorney Shawn Brown filed the suit on behalf of the victim’s families.

“They would like to get some closure, he said. “It’s, you know, been hanging over their head.”

According to the lawsuit, filed days before the second anniversary of the deadly crash, the three defendants “agreed to plan and execute the Airport Race Wars 2 race, shared an interest in the financial success of the race, and each had an equal right to a voice in the direction of Airport Race Wars 2.”

The lawsuit claims the defendants decided where to put barricades and failed to put them past the finish lines.

It accuses the defendants of failing to take any necessary or legal actions to keep attendees of the drag race safe.

“They were ultimately in charge of inspecting the grounds, making sure that everything that they wanted done was done the way that it was supposed to be done, the way that they agreed upon,” explained Brown.

In addition to more than $1 million in compensation, Brown said the families hope this lawsuit sends a message.

“We want people to understand that you can’t host a race like this and not have everything checked — security, every measure that’s possible,” he said. “Because just when you think something can’t go wrong, that’s when it goes wrong.”

KSAT reached out to the defendants in this lawsuit.

“While the City is aware of the lawsuit, we have not discussed it with our attorney,” said City of Kerrville spokesman Stuart Cunyus. “In addition, the City does not generally make comments about pending litigation.”

KSAT called Rorher’s office three times on Thursday afternoon and left voice messages asking for comment. Those calls have yet to be returned.

Bexar County lawsuit

Attorneys representing Martinez and Cedillo’s family, as well as a third victim, filed an amendment to their lawsuit originally filed in November 2021.

In the amended lawsuit, attorneys named even more defendants.

About the Authors:

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.