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Man faces trial for vehicular assault, hit-and-run

BENTON CITY - A Benton City man faces trial May 9 for allegedly crashing his pickup on the drive home from a bar and leaving behind his injured passenger.

John Douglas Engelke, 40, pleaded innocent to vehicular assault and hit-and-run with injury.

Prosecutors allege that Engelke was under the influence early Feb. 5 when driving home from a Prosser bar.

Engelke crashed his Dodge pickup truck at 12:35 a.m. on River Road, near Pendelton Road in Benton City, when he drove into an embankment, court documents said.

Engelke allegedly fled the scene, abandoning passenger Nicholas Thompson. When Benton County sheriff's deputies arrived, Thompson identified Engelke as the driver.

Deputies tracked his cell phone and found him hiding in a pasture about 60 feet off the road, court documents said. Engelke, whose head hit the windshield during the crash, was staggering and slurring his speech, documents said. He was treated for his injuries, then arrested.

Thompson suffered a broken leg and other injuries.

Engelke has been ordered not to drink alcohol or drive to places where liquor is served while this case is pending. He has posted bond on $25,000 bail.

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