Gresham family grieves 2nd crash death in 9 months


Jessica O'Leary was killed in a car crash 9 months after her son was hit and killed in a crosswalk

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Gresham family is grieving yet another tragic loss for the second time in less than a year.

Jessica O’Leary was killed in a car crash on Monday, just nine months after her 21-year-old son Zachary was hit and killed in a crosswalk by an alleged drunk driver in Gresham.

A booking photo of David Haugen. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Jessica’s daughter Aryana learned about her mother’s death on her birthday. She told KOIN 6 News she was supposed to have lunch with her mom that same day after not having seen each other since Zachary’s funeral in November.

Zachary was killed on Nov. 23, 2019. His aunt Amber Whitney said he’d gotten off of a bus two stops ahead of his destination so he could use the crosswalk — something Amber said he was “always real safe about.”

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said David Haugen was drunk behind the wheel of a pickup truck when he hit Zachary so hard his body flew nearly 100 feet. Haugen is in the Multnomah County Jail awaiting trial for manslaughter.

Family members said Jessica struggled with depression after Zachary, who was her first-born child, was killed.

“She didn’t even want to get up out of bed anymore, it was really bad for her when Zachary was gone,” said Jessica’s mother Wendy Brandt.

“My sister wasn’t ready to let go,” said Amber. “She called his phone everyday still, she keeps it activated so she could hear his voice. She sits at his memorial everyday and has lunch with him.”

Another man — Thomas King — is facing a manslaughter charge for Jessica’s death. Deputies said King was driving a Ford Mustang with Jessica in the passenger seat when he crashed into a guardrail near Marine Drive and Blue Lake Road in Fairview Monday night, killing Jessica.

Thomas King faces a manslaughter charge after this Mustang crashed into a guardrail on NE Marine Drive and killed a female passenger, August 25, 2020 (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Wendy remembers her daughter as “sweet, kind, loving. She just wanted everybody to be happy.”

Investigators have released few details about the crash and what led up to it. KOIN 6 News has reached out to authorities for more information but has been told the case is still under investigation.

GoFundMe supporting Jessica’s funeral costs

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