Yamhill Co. street racing suspects arraigned on manslaughter cha - KPTV - FOX 12

Yamhill Co. street racing suspects arraigned on manslaughter charges

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Robert Olsen, Jeremy Hopper appearing via video in court Monday. (Source: KPTV) Robert Olsen, Jeremy Hopper appearing via video in court Monday. (Source: KPTV)
Scene of deadly crash on Highway 99W near McMinnville in May. (Source: OSP) Scene of deadly crash on Highway 99W near McMinnville in May. (Source: OSP)

Two men accused of street racing and causing a deadly crash on Highway 99W near McMinnville made their first court appearance Monday afternoon. 

Both Jeremy Hopper II, 24, of Amity, and Andrew Olsen, 22, of Lafayette, were arrested over the weekend on charges including first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and reckless driving.

The courtroom was packed with people who wanted to be there for their first court appearance. That included Melissa Gates, whose 18-year-old daughter remains in the hospital weeks after the crash. 

Gates usually sits on the other side of the courtroom, where she works as a judicial assistant to Yamhill County Judge Ronald Stone. 

“I never thought I’d be standing here,” she said. 

But in the same room, standing before a different judge, Gates made an emotional plea to keep both Olsen and Hopper behind bars. She said Hopper is her daughter's boyfriend. 

“I think they need to feel what she’s feeling like, she’s non-functional,” said Gates. “I trusted Jeremy with her life, I trusted him.”

Investigators said Hopper was behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer on May 4. Gates' daughter, Natasha Fisher, was riding in the passenger seat when Hopper allegedly began racing Olson on Highway 99W near McMinnville.

Court documents state they had been in the parking lot of a McMinnville business for an impromptu meeting of a local car club. 

Investigators said Hopper lost control of his car and slammed head-on into a minivan. Witnesses estimated Hopper and Olson were driving at least 100 mph, according to a probable cause affidavit. 

The minivan’s driver, Claudio Marquez, 43, of McMinnville, died at the scene. A passenger, Bonifacio Martinez Garcia, 33, of McMinnville, suffered serious injuries in the crash.  

Fisher was rushed to the hospital in critical condition where family said she remains with a traumatic brain injury.  

Along with Gates, family members of Marquez pleaded for the judge to keep the suspects behind bars Monday. Attorneys for both men argued that their bail should be reduced. 

Hopper’s attorney claimed he never knew investigators were looking for him until he found out about it this weekend and he turned himself in. She added that he’s never had any trouble with the law, and his family has connections to law enforcement.

In the end, a judge sided with the state and set bail at $160,000 for both men. It's a decision that’s bittersweet for Gates.

“It’s all sad,” said Gates. “It’s sad because I liked him and this hurts me. But, I just want them to feel what she’s felt for the past 48 days. She’s been in her own personal prison and I want them to be behind bars too.”

Both Hopper and Olsen will have a release hearing next week.

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