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Oregon bill aims to crack down on illegal street racing

The latest street racing death comes as lawmakers consider a bill taking aim at street race organizers.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A bill in the Oregon Senate aims to increase maximum jail time and fines for people found guilty of organizing street-racing events.

Senate Bill 615, introduced by Sen. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), is currently in committee with no hearings scheduled yet.

If SB 615 passes, first offenders could get a maximum of 364 days in prison and/or up to a $6,200 fine. Repeat offenders within a five-year period could face up to five years in prison and/or up to a $125,000 fine.

The bill would also modify the charge of reckless driving to include speed-racing activities.

Deaths related to street racing are the most troubling part of what's been a problem in parts of the city for several years. On Saturday night, police responded to fiery wreckage involving two cars on North Marine Drive. Investigators told KGW street racing was involved. Three people went to the hospital and one of them died. Police said the driver who died was part of the event. The death marks the sixth traffic-related death of 2023.

Last year on Aug. 26, police said Ashlee McGill, 26, was killed while waiting for a bus. She was standing at Southeast 133rd Avenue and Stark Street when police said a street racer lost control and hit her. The driver took off.

For months, McGill's family waited for justice.

"Trying to find out whatever I could find out and not finding out too much," said Misty Nicholson, McGill's mother.

Last week, police made an arrest in the case. Kenneth Freeman, 35, was arrested on a charge of second-degree manslaughter.

"That was my baby," McGill said. "[Freeman] hasn't gave me any reason to believe he has any 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."

READ: Oregon Senate Bill 615

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