Family asks DA's Office to drop criminal charges against driver in woman's death

Sarah Pearson cap.jpg
Sarah Pearson.

The mother of a 21-year-old woman who died in a crash Friday morning asked prosecutors to drop criminal charges against the driver.

Multnomah County deputies arrested Noah Boege, 18, after he lost control of his car on Highway 30 east of Troutdale Friday morning. His passenger, Sarah Pearson, 21, died as a result of her injuries.

Deputies noted that he was under the influence of marijuana.

Boege pleaded not guilty Monday to DUII, reckless endangerment and manslaughter in the second degree, a Measure 11 felony in Oregon.

Pearson's mother, Corinna Hayden, said that she asked the District Attorney's Office to consider dropping all charges.

"I know that Sarah would not want Noah's life ruined because of this," she told KATU. "I know that he loved Sarah as a friend and know that he didn’t want to do anything to hurt her."

Hayden says her daughter and Boege were best friends.

"As far as I have been told by Sarah," she said, "he was one of the boys that she felt safe around."

The Boege family told KATU that they appreciated Hayden's request to drop the charges.

"It was a tragic accident," Earle Boege said by phone. "We're having a rough time trying to work through everything."

Despite the families' wishes, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office said Monday that prosecutors were filing charges on behalf of the state.

Portland criminal defense attorney Kevin Sali says prosecuting attorneys will consider several things during sentencing, including the listed charges, the facts of the case, how reckless it was and if the defendant has shown he's working to address the problem or entered treatment. He says the victim's wishes and the family's wishes are also taken into consideration.

"The prosecutor’s office will take into very serious consideration what the victim and the family wants," Sali said. "But at the end of the day, the state says, 'that is our decision,' and for many reasons, including the fact (that) part of criminal prosecution and sentencing involves community safety."

Sali says multiple resolutions can be achieved that significantly lessens the punishment for Boege.

"He could plea to a lesser charge, like criminally negligent homicide," he said. "It will really be up to the parties in the court as to what that sentence is. It’s much more discretionary at that point."

For Hayden, she's learning to cope with her daughter gone.

"She always had something about her that was like a sweet little angel," she said. "This is an unfair, tragically shocking accident."

Pearson is survived by her infant son, younger sister and parents. The family has created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.

Boege's next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 5.