Woman gets 6 years in hit-run, cover-up

She killed pedestrian, got 5 others to aid ruse

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PORTLAND (AP) — A Portland woman has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for killing a pedestrian with her car and then enlisting the help of five other people in a two-month cover-up.

Ashley Chavez, 23, sobbed through a hearing Monday, pleading guilty to manslaughter, drunken driving and hit-and-run, The Oregonian reported.

In March, she was driving a Honda in west Portland that killed 63-year-old Nancy Schoeffler. Police say Chavez and a co-worker had been drinking at a Portland Timbers game and were on their way home. Schoeffler was out for a late evening walk.

Five co-defendants got jail sentences ranging from 10 days to 60 days for the cover-up, which included buying replacement parts and fixing the car.

Chavez initially declined to make a statement and instead had a judge read an apology letter to the family and friends of Schoeffler. But Chavez changed her mind just before she was led out of the courtroom by deputies.

“I just want to tell you I am so sorry for your loss,” Chavez said in a soft voice, turning to look at the family.

Schoeffler’s family declined to speak during the hearing, but Schoeffler’s adult daughter gave a thumbs-up to Portland police officers sitting in the courtroom. The officers tracked down Chavez and five other co-defendants. Police said they got a tip about a car with a shattered window and damaged front hood in a parking lot near the collision.

Prosecutor Chuck Sparks said a passenger in the car, Angela Kaps-Collins, cooperated extensively once she was caught. She pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and got 40 days in jail.

“The thing she did and the follow-up to it was terrible,” Sparks said. “But she also helped us make a very strong case.”