Kennewick woman denies role in hit-and-run

KENNEWICK — Kennewick police have identified a 29-year-old Kennewick woman as the driver involved in a hit-and-run Sunday in Kennewick, but her defense attorney claims there is no way Bobi Jennings was driving the SUV.

Jennings is accused of hitting a woman who was walking in the 4600 block of South Garfield Street early Sunday, Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said Thursday.

Aimee Dilger, 33, of Kennewick, had stopped to talk to her husband who was driving by in his pickup, when a small, dark SUV struck her, Lattin said.

Jennings was identified as the driver of the SUV that was southbound on Garfield and hit Dilger as she was standing in the street, he said.

Dilger's husband jumped out of his truck to help her while the SUV drove away, Lattin said. Dilger suffered broken bones and scrapes and was treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

The empty SUV was found a short time later in the 3200 block of South Quincy Place.

After Jennings was identified as the driver, the investigative report was sent to the Benton County prosecutor to review for charges of vehicular assault and injury hit-and-run, Lattin said.

Defense attorney Scott Johnson told the Herald on Thursday that he was hired by Jennings earlier this week after she was questioned by police. He said Jennings and Dilger have been friends for years and actually had been together earlier in the evening.

"Ms. Dilger actually left the location where my client was because she was having some problems with her husband. It's that same husband that was at the scene where Ms. Dilger was hit," Johnson said.

He said the place where the SUV was found by police was the same place that both Dilger and Jennings were at earlier that night. He said Jennings wasn't driving the SUV -- it belongs to a friend -- and witnesses say it wasn't moved all night.

Johnson said police talked to Jennings but didn't treat her like a suspect at all. They didn't perform any tests on her and they didn't impound the SUV, he said.

"We have numerous witnesses that are going to indicate there's no possible way my client was driving that car that night. We're shocked police are claiming my client is the driver," Johnson said.

Hunter rescued on Oregon trail

MEACHAM — A 63-year-old hunter in distress was rescued from a mountain trail near the Umatilla and Union county line, Umatilla County sheriff's officials said Thursday.

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the Thimbleberry Ridge area, east of Meacham near the county line, about2 p.m. Wednesday through the Oregon State Police, said Undersheriff Terry Rowan.

Jim Muhly was with a group of hunters who hiked into the area but became exhausted and couldn't continue on the return trip.

Muhly's son stayed with him as others in the group contacted Oregon State Police game troopers, Rowan said.

After the sheriff's office activated the search and rescue unit, some rescuers on four-wheelers were able to reach Muhly and take him to an ambulance waiting at a nearby forest service road.

Muhly was significantly dehydrated and taken to St. Anthony's Hospital for treatment, Rowan said.

-- Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com