Engineering intern critically hurt in crash
A promising young intern with the city of Gresham's Environmental Services Department has been critically injured in a two-car collision in Southwest Portland. Police say the other motorist was driving under the influence.
"The department's pretty shaken up by the accident," said senior engineer Jeremy Provenzola. "You hate to see this happen to someone so young, and especially when they've got no fault in the matter. It's truly heartbreaking."
Jasmine Garcia, a 21-year-old senior at Oregon State University, was riding in the backseat of a friend's Subaru around 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, when the driver of a BMW crossed the center line, smashing into the Subaru head on.
The collision, which occurred on Southwest Capitol Highway near Freeman Street, broke Garcia's back and several ribs, inflicted deep cuts in her spleen and liver and also damaged her intestines and diaphragm. She's not able to breath without assistance, said a report by KOIN 6 News, an Outlook media partner.
"I just want to wake up and say it's just a dream," Garcia's mother, Julia Valle-Galicia, told the TV station. "I'm living every mother's worst nightmare."
Jasmine, who grew up in Beaverton, was nearly finished with her six-month internship with Gresham's Water Resources Department, where she was tasked with everything from reviewing pipe reports to popping open manholes and taking measurements in the field.
She had just finished putting out to bid a pipe repair contract that focused on the Rockwood area, Provenzola noted."It's a really rigorous internship program. It's not easy to get into (and) it's a serious commitment for them because they're committing themselves to an additional year of school," he said. "You can't just send them out to wash the cars."
Civil engineers are required to spend four years in training before they can take the licensing test. Most internships are considered too easy to count toward that requirement, but Garcia's time in the paid, full-time Civil Engineering Cooperative Program does.
"She's bright and eager, and that's the perfect combination that we're looking for (in) a young engineering intern," Provenzola added. "The family has graciously kept us in the loop, and we've been able to get some meals and groceries out to them."
Prosecutors have charged Garret Wade Scheckla, 21, of Portland, with two counts of third-degree assault — a felony — plus recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, fourth-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
When asked by police if he felt sober enough to drive, Scheckla responded "Oh f— no," according to a probable cause affidavit.
Police found a $204.50 receipt from Bar 3 at 4444 S.W. Multnomah Blvd., in Scheckla's pocket. The Jesuit High School graduate, who attends Oregon State University, told officers he had only paid his own tab.
Jasmine's mother, Valle-Galicia, hopes this tragedy can spur others to stop driving drunk or drugged.
"Don't do it because it could change not only that person's life but everybody around, whoever you have in the car, whoever you hit," she warned. "Have a designated driver. It's not that hard."
YOU CAN HELP
Community members have raised more than $11,500 for Jasmine Garcia's medical bills. To donate, visit gofundme.com/forjasmine1.