Family of 11-year-old killed in crash distraught, angry after accused DUII driver released without bail

On Wednesday afternoon, the family of 11-year-old Ryan Ambrose gathered at SE 102nd and Stark.
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 10:36 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A Portland family is grieving the loss of an 11-year-old boy who was killed in a crash, and they are demanding justice as the man charged in connection with the crash has already been released from jail.

On Wednesday afternoon, the family of 11-year-old Ryan Ambrose gathered at SE 102nd and Stark. They put up crosses, candles, and flowers a block away from the intersection where Ambrose was killed in a car crash last Saturday.

“The whole family is here today,” said Mario Trejo, Ambrose’s grandfather. “To try to make justice for my little kid, for my grandson.”

According to Portland police, the crash happened around 10:19 Saturday night. When officers got to the scene they found two vehicles involved, one rolled over. Portland police’s investigation notes that speed and alcohol impairment were primary factors in the crash.

SEE ALSO: Suspect charged after 11-year-old killed in 2-car SE Portland crash

Ambrose was transported to the hospital, where he later died.

The driver of the other car, Duprie Smith, had suffered at a gunshot wound at some point and was also transported to the hospital. After he was released, he was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of DUII and manslaughter in the first degree.

According to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the Deputy DA in this case requested $100,000 bail, but the judge declined bail and instead released Smith on enhanced DUII conditions, meaning he cannot possess or consume alcohol, he is not allowed to use any drugs not prescribed by a doctor, he cannot drive or possess a vehicle, and he cannot enter any bars, taverns, or other businesses that primarily serve alcohol. He was released on Monday.

“He was killed by a drunk driver and now this guy is in his house watching tv and my grandson is in a case in the funeral home right now,” said Trejo. “We think this is not fair. What are they trying to do? Wait until he kills someone else and then arrest him? He was drunk driving 90 miles an hour. Ran every single red light. This is not fair. Where is the justice? We need it. The whole family needs it.”

Trejo says Ambrose was visiting family and was hours away from flying back home to Arizona when the crash happened.

“Everybody is destroyed,” said Trejo. “I cannot tell you how the pain is. He came to visit us for two weeks. He was seven hours away from getting on the flight back home with his mom. Now mom is going to receive him in a case. Just imagine the pain. The man who did this is free in his house. We don’t want to tell her yet, we don’t know how to tell her yet.”

SEE ALSO: Collision in Columbia County leaves 1 dead

His aunt, Jennifer Trejo, was also in the crash. On Wednesday, she showed us one of Ambrose’s toys she now keeps in her arm sling.

“Ryan was such a beautiful boy,” said Jennifer. “Every morning he would wake up, hug everyone and tell them how much he loved them. He loved to play. He would collect a lot of toys. He had a spider toy that he would always love to share with everyone. He would cross the border into Mexico and share his toys. He was just so sweet and he was taken from us in less than a second. It’s not fair that he gets to be out on the streets when my baby boy is in a casket. He needs to be locked away. We all hurt and we all need justice. We need him to be put away.”

His family is now demanding justice, saying what is happening isn’t fair.

“Please, I’m calling on the whole community to help us,” said Trejo. “To make justice. Please make calls, do something. Please help us. Don’t do it for us, do it for the little kid. He was 11-years-old. He didn’t do nothing wrong with nobody. It’s not fair he was killed by a drunk guy driving 90 miles an hour, running every single red light. It’s not possible that it was an accident. He knew if he drove like that he could kill somebody and he didn’t care. He was driving 90 miles an hour. No lights, not stopping at a single red light. So what was he expecting to happen?”

Smith’s next court appearance has been set for August 1.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to bring Ambrose home and cover funeral expenses. If you would like to help, click here.