Driver in hit-and-run accident charged with drunk driving
Jefferson County Sheriff deputies caught and arrested the two drivers involved in a hit-and-run accident on Highway 97 near Bear Drive Wednesday, Sept. 15.
The driver, 22-year-old Garyson Johnson, gave a breath sample of .30 blood alcohol. A 16-year-old minor, who also drove the SUV, gave a breath sample of .14 blood alcohol.
At about 4:50 p.m. Sept. 15, Virginia Cole was driving south on Highway 97 south of Madras. As she slowed to merge lanes just past Eureka Lane, the gold SUV behind her didn't stop and crashed into her car.
The impact threw Cole's Hyundai across the other lane of traffic and turned it 180-degrees facing north.
The collision collapsed the entire back side of the hatchback, but Cole walked away with no visible injuries.
The SUV sped away from the accident but an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction witnessed the crash. He described the fleeing vehicle and the male driver for Jefferson County deputies.
Witnesses also collected scattered car parts from the offending vehicle for the Oregon State Police investigating the accident.
A Jefferson County deputy encountered the vehicle on Bear Drive near Highway 361.
The deputy's report says a female was now driving the SUV.
Johnson denied driving on Highway 97. Both the female driver and the female passenger, age 17, said the male was driving.
Both drivers were arrested and transported to the jail. Johnson provided a breath sample of .30. The 16-year-old female provided a breath sample of .14.
Both were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and conspiracy. The 16-year-old female was also charged with criminal mischief.
Johnson was also charged with recklessly endangering a person, failure to perform the duties of a driver in an accident with property damage, and fourth-degree assault.
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission says a person who weighs 120 pounds would need to drink four and a half drinks an hour to reach a .14 blood alcohol level, and 10 drinks an hour to reach a .30 blood alcohol level.
The National Institutes of Health say a .30 blood alcohol level is life threatening.
Johnson was medically cleared at the hospital and lodged in the jail.
"Many people are concerned about crashes occurring at Highway 97 and Bear Drive," says Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn, "but the intersection appears to not be a factor in the crash."
Oregon State Police handled the investigation of the crash. In addition to Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies, Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 and Jefferson County EMS also responded to the scene.
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