PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Family and friends mourn the loss of two teens killed in an early morning car crash in Beaverton as four more people, including a Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy, fight for their lives.
The community continues to grieve as a makeshift memorial has started to form at the crash site at TV Highway and Murray.
“We drive every day through these little intersections and I know TV Highway can be pretty dangerous. It just sucks that my cousin’s life got cut so short,” said Abel Navarro. “He was very kind, respectful.”
Navarro’s cousin, 17-year-old Matthew Amaya, was one of the teens killed on impact after the overnight crash. He says the moment his uncle came in to give him the news this morning, he was stunned.
“It just brought my world down. Not my cousin. He was everything I had,” said Navarro. “He wasn’t a cousin, he was more like a brother.”
Navarro added that he grew up with Amaya, bonding over cars and video games, and it’s still hard to believe he’s gone.
“My family is not taking it too well, especially my cousin’s mom. She’s not taking it well especially because he’s a single child,” said Navarro. “You’re not supposed to go before your parents.”
Beaverton Police say five students were in a Nissan Altima when it ran a red light, crashing into a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy patrol car. Amaya, who was a passenger, and 16-year-old Juan Pacheco Aguilera died on scene while the other three teens and the deputy are in critical condition. The sheriff’s office says it’s been a rough day as Deputy Michael Trotter, who has been with them since 2013, fights for his life.
“We pause and recognize the incredible sense of loss, grief and sadness we and many in our community feel from the tragic crash,” said Sheriff Pat Garrett. “He remains in critical, but stable, condition. Deputy Trotter sustained life-threatening injuries and has a long road to recovery.”
As crime tape and debris serve as a lasting reminder of the tragedy, a small memorial is taking shape with messages to the victims’ families from fellow parents and loved ones. Navarro hopes this will also make fellow teens think twice when they’re getting behind the wheel.
“Drive careful, guys. Don’t drive fast because speed kills,” said Navarro. “I know you get that adrenaline rush and it feels awesome, it feels amazing at that current time. But is it really worth it, wrecking and ruining your life, hurting family members and your friends?”
At this time, police have not said if substances or speed were factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.
Southridge High School — where the five students attended — shared on social media today that their hearts are heavy as the school community grieves. The Beaverton school district says they had councilors on hand for students and staff in need. It’s unclear yet if there are plans for a vigil.