Screenshot from a GoFundMe page created for Manny Ortiz.

Screenshot from a GoFundMe page created for Manny Ortiz.

Family mourns Federal Way man who died in freeway crash

Manny Ortiz was a 2014 graduate of Federal Way High School.

Jose Ortiz Montes de Oca, 25, of Federal Way, was known to friends and family as “Manny.”

Ortiz died on July 13 at Harborview Medical Center two days after a collision along a Kent freeway. His organs will be donated, according to a GoFundMe page.

“He was selfless, loving, and brave, and will be deeply missed,” the page reads. “We are doing all that we can to honor his wishes.”

So far, $47,545 has been donated toward the $50,000 goal to help with hospital bills and funeral expenses. Ortiz was a 2014 graduate of Federal Way High School.

Around 2:43 a.m. July 11, Ortiz was driving on the freeway near State Route 516 in Kent when his 2015 Ford Focus left the roadway, struck a barrier and continued rolling until coming to rest in the HOV lane, according to the Washington State Patrol. Ortiz exited his car and stood near the front left side of his car.

Moments later, a 74-year-old Seattle man driving a 2003 Toyota Highlander in the HOV lane swerved to avoid the Ford Focus. The Highlander struck the left side of the Focus and hit Ortiz.

The Highlander came to rest in lane two of the freeway, and the driver was not injured. Ortiz was transported to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

Speed was listed as the cause of the Ford’s crash, and both involved vehicles were totaled. It is unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved.

Ortiz’s funeral service and reception were held July 31 at Bonney Watson Funeral Home in Federal Way.

Delaney Brown, a close friend of Ortiz’s who grew up in the Federal Way area, met Ortiz when they were 12 years old at Sacajawea Middle School.

Having a love and lust for life is something she shared in common with Ortiz, Brown said.

“Manny was just always this funny, exuberant, sweet person that had such an odd combination of quietness and also hilarity to him,” she said.

He wasn’t your typical class clown, but he expressed his humor and silliness in a way that was palatable for everyone, Brown said.

Manny had lots of friends, and doled out genuine compliments often — championing others in their lives and accomplishments. He was never afraid to yell out how much he loved someone across the school courtyard, or wrap someone in a big dramatic hug in the hallways of Federal Way High School. He loved baseball — his favorite team was the Boston Red Sox — and science, and magic.

“He was always so accepting of all people from any walk of life,” she said.

He made moments for people, with exaggerated gestures or funny faces to make them laugh. Manny made people feel seen, Brown said.

“If he ever thought something positive about someone, he didn’t keep it to himself,” she said. “He would always share the positivity and joy that naturally came from him and I really think that’s why people love him so much, because he was always a bright spot.”

Brown, a local commercial photographer, is collecting media from the community for Ortiz’s family.

As an artist, Brown said she admires the preservation of memories. She hopes collecting memories of Ortiz will allow his family to see how many lives their son touched.

“I know that there’s a lot of really great images out there of him and I would love for his family to not only see him through their eyes, but see the love that all of his friends had for him, too,” she said.

All submissions are welcome, no matter how small or seemingly trivial, Brown said. Photos, videos and written memories of those who knew Ortiz can be sent to

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