Milwaukie High School student dies in crash; 5 others hurt - KPTV - FOX 12

Group 'pounding beers' before fatal crash, teen says

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Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
MILWAUKIE, OR (KPTV) -

A Toyota 4-Runner with seven teenagers inside crashed and flipped several times, killing one of the passengers and sending five other teens to the hospital Saturday night.

Speed and alcohol contributed to the crash, Clackamas County deputies said.

All of the victims were part of a large group of teenagers partying in the woods near Estacada that night.

"I was the only sober person up there," said Cheyann Yates, who was in the passenger seat. "Everybody wanted to go wheeling, so we went up and found some snow. And that's when everybody started pounding beers."

"There was at least 10 beers pounded between all the boys that were in the truck," Yates said.

Nick Portis, who was a 17-year-old student at Milwaukie High School, died in the crash. Four other passengers, all under the age of 18, were also injured, but are expected to survive.

The crash happened on a remote Forest Service Road outside Estacada and dispatchers first received word about the wreck Saturday at 10:45 p.m.

"We went down the hill to go meet someone and we hit a corner, probably about 70 [mph], and we lost control of the 4-Runner," Yates said. "Three people flew out of the truck [and] Nick was one of them. He was the only one that didn't survive."

Because there was no cell phone coverage at the crash site, the victims were loaded into other cars and taken to Hillockburn Road and Highway 211. That's where they were met by paramedics and then taken to area hospitals.

Joseph Childs, 19, was behind the wheel when the crash happened. He also suffered injuries, but is expected to be OK.

No criminal charges have been filed yet.

Portis' mother, Jeanette Robart, said her son had gone camping for spring break.

"Instead of staying at their campsite where they were supposed to stay, where they were supposed to be barbecuing, not drinking, they all made the dumb decision to get into a vehicle and speed down a very windy road," Robart said.

Robart described her son as "a beautiful person."

"He always had something to say to make people smile, make people laugh. He could never just walk by somebody without trying to make their day a better day," she said. "If he saw somebody grumpy, he'd try to stop and make them laugh."

A spokesman for North Clackamas School District said there's already a growing memorial for Portis next to the flag pole on the school campus.

Milwaukie High School has a safe room set up for students struggling to cope with the fatal crash.

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