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Mom 'terrified' after she says joy riders destroyed garden where 5-year-old daughter plays

Tanya DeCharles told KATU joy riders caught on video crashed through her fence in Northeast Portland, destroying a garden where her 5-year-old daughter often plays.

A Northeast Portland mom said joy riders were caught on video crashing through her fence and destroying a garden where her 5-year-old daughter often plays.

The mom, Tanya DeCharles, told KATU the joy riders took off but left a key piece of evidence behind.

She said the crash could easily have taken her daughter's life.

A fence post in the yard that was once held down by concrete split in half. DeCharles said when an SUV hit it, a chunk of it split off and flew behind an air conditioning unit about 15 feet away -- just a few feet from her daughter's slide and play equipment.

"It looks like a daycare here," DeCharles explained. "We do it for our daughter because she likes it. It's fun."

She said her home on Northeast Alberta Street is all about her daughter, Samantha, or, at least, it used to be.

"This is where we had tomato vines going," DeCharles said, pointing at a pile of rubble including a vehicle's bumper and the splintered remnants of her fence. "A whole bunch of yard art was kind of centered on the walls over here as well as bird houses that my husband made. .. We have cartoons, giant cartoons on the side of our fence that they had to pass to decide to do this."

DeCharles and her husband have a surveillance system keeping watch over their property and the garden where their daughter often played.

On Wednesday evening at about 5:30 p.m. DeCharles said it caught footage of a blue Honda CRV with two people inside.

"They went up the hill and stayed up there for about a minute-and-a-half then came screaming down the hill at a really high rate of speed and crashed right into my fence," DeCharles said.

She was at work when it happened. Her husband and Samantha were inside the house at the time.

"I was in my room finding something and then I heard a big boom," Samantha explained, "and then I jumped."

Samantha said her father found the license plate and the bumper of the CRV in the yard and called the police.

"He found his license right here," Samantha said, "and then we're going to get him."

KATU looked up the license plate number and a reporter went to the address for the listed owner.

A woman inside the home on Southeast 134th Drive said she owns the vehicle and in Spanish claimed that her 16-year-old son took it on Monday. She said her husband tried to report it stolen but police would not help.

"I'm terrified over what could've happened and I'd like them found," DeCharles said, getting choked up. "If she had been watering her plants at the time she would've gotten really hurt."

A Portland Police Bureau spokesman said the vehicle is not listed as stolen.

He said officers are now investigating the hit-and-run case.

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