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Chavez back in Portland

Suspected driver in fatal hit-and-run accident waived extradition from Washington
by: Whatcom County Jail, Ashley Chavez

The suspected driver in a high-profile hit-and-run case is now back in Portland.

Ashley Chavez of Corbett, 23, was booked into Multnomah County Jail around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to sheriff's office spokesman Lt. Steve Alexander.

It has been a long trip for the Corbett woman, who is accused of driving the vehicle that struck and killed Nancy Margaret Schoeffler, 63, in a West Burnside Street crosswalk March 31. Chavez allegedly fled from the scene, not far from Jeld-Wen Field after a Timbers soccer match.

The Multnomah County Circuit Court issued a warrant for Chavez's arrest on May 29 for manslaughter in the second degree. She was originally thought to be in Colorado, but a U.S. Marshals Task Force found Chavez with her boyfriend in a northern Washington town near the Canadian border. She was spotted leaving a Red Robin restaurant, with her boyfriend at the wheel.

After an arrest that happened without injury, Chavez was booked into the Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham, Wash. Her bail was set at $275,000.

Chavez's arrest followed the May 28 arrest of a woman believed to be a passenger in the crash, Angela Dawn Kaps-Collins, 43. Authorities say they found a badly damaged vehicle, stored by Kaps-Collins, at a barn in rural Clackamas County. She was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence.

At first Chavez indicated she would fight coming back to Oregon to face the felony warrants issued in this case, including one for driving under the influence of intoxicants. So authorities moved in to arrest her brother in Sherwood and her boyfriend in Lake Oswego. Authorities say the man identified as Chavez's boyfriend, Christopher Rhea, 28, was with Chavez in Bellingham when authorities moved in but was not taken into custody then.

It wasn't long before Chavez relented, waiving extradition on June 6 in a hearing at the Whatcom County Superior Court. On Friday, June 8, she was sent from the Whatcom County Jail to the Regional Justice Center in Kent, Wash. By Monday she had been taken to the Clark County jail in Vancouver, Wash.

Now Chavez is back in Portland, the city where for the past two-and-a-half months, friends and family of Nancy Schoeffler have been pleading for the driver in the fatal crash to "just do the right thing ... and come forward."