The prime suspect in the Burnside hit-and-run that left 63-year-old Nancy Schoeffler dead earlier this spring pleaded not guilty in a Portland courtroom Wednesday morning.
Ashley Chavez faces charges of driving under the influence, tampering with physical evidence, failure to perform the duties of a driver and manslaughter.
Portland police said Chavez was behind the wheel of a car that struck and killed Schoeffler on March 31. She and her passenger, Angela Kaps-Collins, had spent the evening drinking and attending a Portland Timbers match, according to law enforcement sources.
The car was then taken to Kaps-Collins' home in Corbett for repairs, officials said, and neighbors told FOX 12 they noticed people swapping out car parts in the driveway.
Solara Schoeffler, the victim's daughter, said "her mind can't go there," when asked about the crime and the suspected cover up.
She said her mother's life was cut short by two women who "left her in the street to die and went to great lengths to cover it up."
"My mother was an amazing woman with a heart of gold," said Solara Schoeffler, who wore a necklace with a pendant containing her mother's ashes. "We are still very shocked and deeply saddened by the way she left this world."
Two months after the crash, police arrested Kaps-Collins, and then soon took Chavez into custody. Chavez's brother, Joshua Chavez, and her boyfriend, Christopher Rhea, were also arrested and accused of helping the suspects cover up the crime.
A fifth suspect, Billy Collins, 46, turned himself into
police and will be arraigned on Thursday.
He is facing charges of hindering prosecution and tampering
with physical evidence.
He is the husband of Kaps-Collins.
Police say a sixth suspect, Jose Torres, has been
indicted and is expected to turn himself into police in the next few days.
Ashley Chavez, who did not speak in court Wednesday, will have her next court appearance July 25.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.
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