Driver arrested for Portland street racing crash that killed woman

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Police have arrested the driver who allegedly struck and killed 26-year-old Ashlee Diane McGill last summer when he lost control of his car during an illegal street race.

Kenneth Joseph Freeman, 35, was arrested Thursday morning on a warrant for second degree manslaughter stemming from the crash, according to a news release from the Portland Police Bureau. He was booked in Multnomah County jail.

“It’s a start. It’s a start for healing,” said McGill’s mother, Misty Nicholson, “We just have to see what happens with him.

“I don’t think he’s a cold-blooded killer, I really don’t,” she said, “he doesn’t give me a reason to believe that he had remorse for what he did because he didn’t even turn himself in, but I don’t hate him. I pray for him but I don’t hate him.”

According to members of her family, McGill had been waiting for a bus near the corner of Southeast Stark Street and 133rd Avenue in Portland in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022.

Police said shortly after the crash that two cars had been “speed racing” down Stark Street at about 5:30 a.m. when one driver lost control, hitting and killing McGill. She was a bystander who had nothing to do with the race, police said.

Nicholson told KGW she found out about her daughter’s death when police told her three days later. She said the medical examiner told her family McGill likely died instantly due to the speed of the car. Friends and family held a vigil near the crash site later that week.

“[There have been] a lot of ups and downs, just waves,” Nicholson said of her grief over the last several months, “one minute you’re just upset, and then the next minute you’re just acting angry, trying to find out whatever I could find out.”

McGill’s death was one of two unrelated fatalities that appeared to stem from multiple illegal street racing or “street takeover” events in Portland that same weekend, blocking streets and intersections throughout the city and raising concerns about the growing problem.

Three people were shot at an Aug. 28 street racing event on Marine Drive over Interstate 5, one of whom, 20-year-old Cameron Taylor, was later found dead at a Northeast Portland gas station.

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