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Parkdale woman killed in street race

Trisha Ann Thornton, 19, of Parkdale was killed Jan. 18 in Gresham when the car she was riding in crashed into a power pole during a street race. Her boyfriend, Adam L. Ames, 18, also of Parkdale, was driving.

Thornton died around 11 p.m. at the scene, near Northeast Glisan Street and 139th Avenue. Ames was taken to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital where he was treated for a broken leg. He was about to be released from the hospital Monday when he was taken into police custody.

Ames was scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Tuesday (after the Hood River News press deadline) at the Multnomah County Courthouse on a charge of second-degree manslaughter.

A third passenger in the car, Christopher L. Schwebke, 21, of Hood River was not injured.

According to witnesses and the other driver, Ames was allegedly racing his blue Honda Civic against 16-year-old Shade S. Yasin of Gresham, also driving a Honda Civic, when the crash occurred. The cars were speeding eastbound in a 40-mph zone at at least 80 mph, according to police reports. Ames swerved to avoid a westbound car turning left at the intersection of 139th Avenue. After shearing off the bumper of that vehicle, Ames veered across the westbound lanes and crashed into the pole.

Yasin was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with second-degree manslaughter and felony hit-and-run after he fled the scene.

Thornton, who worked at Luhr Jensen & Sons as a barcode clerk machine operator, graduated from Hood River Valley High School in 2000. She and Ames started dating over three years ago as HRV students, according to Thornton's mother, Sharon Mainwaring. Ames did not graduate from HRV and last year dropped out of Life School, an alternative school affiliated with the Hood River County School District, according to spokeswoman Mary Jane Swanson.

Thornton had been living with Ames' grandparents in Parkdale, according to Mainwaring. She said that Ames was spending most of his time working in Eastern Oregon, but would come home on weekends to see Thornton.

"They had kind of a fiery, on-again-off-again relationship," Mainwaring said. She said she was aware that "Adam liked his fast cars.

"But I had no idea that it was this racing in the streets of Portland."

Mainwaring said that Ames and his family have declined to talk to her. Over the weekend, Ames declined to comment to a reporter from The Oregonian while he was at OHSU Hospital. Through a hospital spokewoman, Ames' father said he believes his son was not racing.

"He's denying he was speed racing," Mainwaring said. "But I don't know how you could be going 80 mph in a 40-mph zone and say you weren't racing."

Mainwaring and her husband, Smokey, have already taken steps to form a non-profit organization called FASD -- Families Against Speeding Drivers -- to combat the deadly trend of street racing. During the past six weeks there have been five deaths caused by street racing in the Portland metro area, including Thornton's. On Jan. 11, Hood River police ticketed the drivers of two vehicles who were drag racing on Portway Drive at speeds estimated at 70 mph.

"It's out of control," Sharon Mainwaring said. "This street racing has got to stop." The Mainwarings plan to put together a presentation to give at driving schools and at diversion classes to highlight the dangers of speeding in general, and particularly street racing.

"We're dedicating the rest of our lives to this program," said Smokey, who is a bus driver with the Hood River County School District. "I'm probably going to miss a lot of work for the rest of my life, but Trisha comes first." He said they hope to "go national" with the program eventually, but will start "here in the Hood River Valley."

Sharon Mainwaring said she last saw her daughter about a week ago.

"She'd pop in to say hi or call up on the phone," said Mainwaring, who works at Mid-Valley Market. "We always made a point of hugging each other and telling each other we loved each other. I'm so glad about that now.

"Trisha was a beautiful girl," she said. "She had a lot to offer the world."

A memorial fund has been set up in Trisha Thornton's memory. Contributions can be made at any branch of Columbia River Bank, and at Rosauers, Mid-Valley Market and Clems Country Store in Odell. All proceeds will go to FASD.

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