Milton-Freewater neighbors furious over jogger's death - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Milton-Freewater neighbors furious over jogger's death

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MILTON-FREEWATER, Ore. --  19 year old Maria Meza was jogging along Winesap Road Wednesday morning when she was struck by a car and killed.  Neighbors are furious, saying speeding has been an issue on the street for years but no one does anything about it.

"They had not  anyone pulled over on this road and I travel up and down the road quite often," says Robert Plemons.  Plemons says his wife Martha Smith was also struck on the road five years ago, and they've asked the Umatilla County Sheriff's office for help. He says his requests go unanswered.  However Sheriff John Trumbo says they do patrol Winesap Road but not as often as residents like because there's not enough man-power.

"We have two patrols in Milton-Freewater, and our number one priorities have always been criminal investigations. And because of the reduction in our patrol staff we only have seven uniforms for the whole county," says Trumbo.

Trumbo also says Meza didn't die because of speed.  " They tried to pin that girl's death on the speed of that car and that's not what killed that young girl.  What killed that young lady was that she crossed the road without looking at what's coming behind her. And the fact she had those headphones on, she didn't have the ability to hear what was coming up behind her," says Trumbo.

Plemons bought his own radar gun and camera to catch speeders on his street.  He says the driver that struck and killed Meza was a frequent speeder.  But Trumbo says speed and alcohol were not factors in this accident.  He says the driver was going about 40-45mph and took a blood test to prove he wasn't under the influence. 

Meza's mother,  Maria Meza says, "we need to do something about this road because this is too far.  I don't want no mother to go through what I went through.'