A 43-year-old man involved in a Water Follies weekend car crash has been charged nine months later with causing the rollover and running away from the Interstate 182 scene.
Erik William Votendahl of Kennewick pleaded innocent in Franklin County Superior Court to vehicular assault and failure to stop and identify at the scene of an injury accident, both felonies.
His trial is scheduled for Aug. 29.
The charges were filed May 3. It is not clear why there was a delay, and Votendahl's court file did not include more about the allegations against him.
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A Herald report at the time said Votendahl was arrested hours after the July 30 crash when he called police from the lobby of a Richland hotel. He appeared in court on an investigative hold but was released after making bail.
The vehicular assault charge says Votendahl drove his vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and/or in a reckless manner, causing the 9:45 p.m. crash.
Court documents after his initial arrest said Votendahl was headed west on I-182 near Road 100 when his 2007 Pontiac slammed into the back of a 1958 Ford Fairlane, according to the Herald report. The Ford rolled in the median before stopping on its top.
The classic car's driver, Karl K. Weitz of Pasco, suffered a broken leg and pelvis and was treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
Meanwhile, Votendahl reportedly drove his Pontiac about three-quarters of a mile over the Benton County line before stopping on the shoulder and running away.
Washington State Patrol dispatchers got a call about four hours later from Votendahl.
Votendahl told troopers "he thought he hit a parked vehicle in the middle lane that had no lights on," documents said. "The defendant advised that he must have blacked out because he just woke up on the bike path behind the Shilo Inn."
Votendahl allegedly said he'd had "a good dinner" at a restaurant in south Richland and was on his way home. The Pontiac's keys were in his pocket, and he was the vehicle's registered owner, court documents said.
Troopers said Votendahl had a red nose -- likely from the air bag deployment -- and detected watery eyes and a strong odor of intoxicants on his breath and that he was swaying during field-sobriety tests, documents said.
He allegedly told troopers he had nothing to drink and had not an alcoholic drink for months.
Votendahl also had a scrape on his left knee, a hole in his jeans and dirt covering his left arm and the back of his coat, documents said. He was taken to Kadlec to test his blood before going to jail.
A couple of days after the crash, state Department of Transportation crews closed the three westbound lanes between Roads 68 and 100 at varying times for the State Patrol investigation.
Online Washington court records show that a day after Franklin County prosecutors charged Votendahl, a lawsuit was filed in Benton County Superior Court claiming Votendahl is responsible for Weitz's injuries and other damages from the crash. A trial date is set for April 29 in the civil case.
Votendahl, who's out on his personal recognizance pending his trial in the criminal matter, is ordered not to consume any alcohol and to only drive his vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.
Pasco man held on bail in alleged theft, beating
A Pasco man is locked up in lieu of $100,000 bail on allegations he held a man at gunpoint while others beat the victim and robbed him.
Jesus Palacio Fuentes, 20, faces an Aug. 8 trial. He has pleaded innocent to first-degree robbery.
Fuentes is the third person charged in the Nov. 9 incident on South 22nd Avenue.
According to court documents, Leonid Solomonovich Busev was inside a home of one of the suspects when he was punched in the face and hit with a baseball bat just before 11 p.m. He told police that a pistol was pointed at him while his jewelry, money and wallet were taken, documents said.
Police later found Pablo Carmelo Sanchez-Quintero driving Busev's car. He had Busev's wallet and some of the stolen jewelry, including a gold chain.
Sanchez-Quintero told police Fuentes pointed a semi-automatic pistol at Busev, court documents said.
Busev was shown a photo montage and picked Fuentes from the selection, saying he "looked like the individual who pointed the gun at him," documents said.
Sanchez-Quintero already pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and possession of cocaine.
Hailie June Marie Devore, 33, is accused of beating up Busev. She also is charged with first-degree robbery and has an Aug. 8 trial date.
Pasco man accused of fifth DUI in 10 years
A 49-year-old man with a history of drunken driving is accused of having almost two times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when his truck hit a parked car in Pasco.
Michael Ross Thompson of Pasco pleaded innocent to felony driving under the influence. He's charged under Washington law as a felony because he has had four prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years.
His trial is Sept. 5.
Pasco Officer Nathan Carlisle was called shortly before 10 p.m. on May 13 to a collision where a pickup towing a boat hit a parked car, court documents said. The truck's driver failed to stop and identify himself, documents said.
Then the truck returned to the scene.
Carlisle spoke with Thompson, who provided him with a Washington state identification card and an ignition interlock license. The device could be seen installed in Thompson's truck, said court documents.
The officer said Thompson's speech was slow and slurred, his eyes were watery and red and his body swayed as the two talked, documents said. Thompson agreed to do a standardized field-sobriety test and allegedly failed a number of things.
A test at the scene showed Thompson had a blood-alcohol level of 0.183 percent, but at the Franklin County jail he tested at 0.142 and 0.144, court documents said. The legal limit in Washington is 0.08.
Thompson told Carlisle he'd had a 16-ounce beer, documents said. He was released on his personal recognizance but was ordered not to use alcohol while the case is pending.