MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- Katie Brown is living proof of what can go wrong when young people drink.
“It was the last weekend of spring break. We just wanted to make the best of it,” Brown said.
She was part of a get-together in the woods off a Forest Service road near Estacada, Ore. with her friend Nick Portis and around 20 others.
“We all just sat around the campfire for a little bit and everyone drank a little bit,” she said. “Nick was like ‘do you want to go wheeling in the snow?’ and I said yeah, so we went up there.
“At that point I didn’t think of the things that could happen.”
Brown, Portis and five other teens all piled into an SUV to go for a drive. The SUV crashed on a Forest Service road.
“All I remember is going 35 down the mountain and then I remember flying out of the truck,” Brown said. “Then I just remember waking up in a ditch.”
Portis did not survive the crash. He was sitting next to Brown in the back seat, she said. Neither of them was wearing a seat belt.
“Nick was like ‘don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.’ That’s the last thing I remember,” she said.
Brown and Portis were both thrown from the SUV during the crash. She suffered broken bones in her arm and back. She also separated her shoulder.
“I remember Joey running to Nick yelling ‘Don’t die! Don’t die!’” Brown said.
The crash happened in an area with no cell phone service.
The driver, Joey Childs, is now in jail. He’s charged with DUII and manslaughter. If convicted, he could serve a minimum of six years in prison.
“It’s not like he meant to kill my son,” said Nick Portis’ mother, Jeanette Robart. “And he didn’t. Nick did it to himself.”
Robart said her son signed up for early entry into the U.S. Marine Corps. He was scheduled to leave in August.
This fall, Robart and Brown plan to tell share their stories with students, warning them about the consequences of drinking and driving.
“They all need to stop and think about what’s going to happen,” Robart said. “What are they going to leave behind? Who are they going to hurt?”
Deputies on party patrol
Sheriff’s deputies in Clackamas County are out to prevent stories like Katie Brown’s from happening.
This summer deputies have responded to 23 calls about teens drinking and issued nine MIP citations. From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2012, deputies went on 55 calls and issued 13 citations.
KATU was there with the party patrol deep in the woods of Clackamas County on a Friday night. Deputies issued several citations for minors in possession of alcohol.
Click the “play video” button above to watch the story as we went on a patrol with deputies.