HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — Raechel Lewis-Brookes became friends quickly with Marjorie Averill. They both lived at a clean and sober house in Hillsboro.
“She was the first person to make me feel comfortable,” Lewis-Brookes told KOIN 6 News on Friday.
But on January 19, Averill was on her first date with Timothy Mahan when they crossed a street at NE Cornell Road and 17th, about “10 minutes away from the house,” Lewis-Brookes said.
A driver in a white van hit Averill and Mahan that night, then kept going. Mahan was slightly injured but Averill died. She was 38.
Nearly 8 months later, 77-year-old Patricia Clayton was arrested and charged with 2 counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver, both felonies.
Lewis-Brookes said she’s “sorely disappointed by the charges. She died, I mean, and the person left the scene. I mean it’s terrible. I hear she’s an elderly lady and we’re Christians, so we are definitely praying for her, too. We don’t wish harm on anyone. But she left the scene.”
Hillsboro Police Sgt. Eric Bunday told KOIN 6 News Clayton was the person of interest they identified in the immediate aftermath of the crash, but they had to “determine that Patricia Clayton was the driver of this vehicle.”
Once they got an indictment from a grand jury, police and deputies from Washington County arrested her this week.
“She had 6 kids in the car with her, all under the age of 9,” Bunday told KOIN 6 News. “Some of them are relatives of hers.”
The van that struck Averill and Mahan was registered to a family member, he said, then explained how they settled on the charges.
“In order for this to become a case of criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter, there has to be an element of recklessness or criminal negligence,” Bunday said. “In this case the driving behavior was observed at the time this incident occurred didn’t rise to that level. There was the elements that rose to the level of criminal recklessness or criminal negligence.”
That’s why Clayton is facing the 2 counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver. “This is still a serious felony charge.”
KOIN 6 News tried but was unable to contact Clayton, who posted bail and is out of jail. She is scheduled to be in court September 17.
Marjorie Averill is still “sorely missed” in the Hillsboro home, Lewis-Brookes said.
“We didn’t know really how to deal with the grief of her just being there and then being gone. So we all made plates for Marjorie, ‘In loving memory of Marjorie.'”
She said she wants the driver to know they’re praying for her and they don’t wish her harm. But she and Marjorie’s friends want to know exactly what happened.
Raechel Lewis-Brookes is clear about what she wants.
“Justice. The truth. That’s all.”