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Prineville man facing DUII, hit-and-run charges; ODOT construction trailer hit

Crook County Jail
Aaron Duane Knouse

(Update: Knouse released on reduced bail)

Accused of nearly causing crashes, nearly striking ODOT workers

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A 25-year-old Prineville driver was arrested Monday night on DUII, hit-and-run and other charges, accused of hitting an ODOT construction trailer in the Powell Butte area and nearly running over several agency employees, Crook County sheriff’s deputies said.

Deputies were dispatched around 8 p.m. to a citizen traffic complaint on state Highway 126 near milepost 9 in Powell Butte, Sgt. Jacob Childers said. The caller reported a small gray car heading east on the highway was driving all over the road, had driven onto the gravel shoulder several times, was passing other cars and nearly caused crashes.

The caller also said the driver had struck a road construction sign on the highway shoulder and eventually came to a stop near milepost 9, where the caller contacted the driver, who he said appeared very intoxicated.

Deputies arriving on the scene said the 2015 Ford Fiesta on the eastbound shoulder had damage consistent with hitting the construction sign. The driver was identified as Aaron Knouse, 25 of Prineville, Childers said.

An ODOT worker pulled up to the scene during the investigation and reported the driver had just struck an ODOT construction trailer and nearly struck several ODOT employees conducting a safety meeting at Highway 126 and Southwest Remington Ranch Road. The ODOT worker also said the driver left after a worker told him he could be arrested for his actions.

Childers said an investigation determined that Knouse passed the ODOT construction crew while heading east, then turned around and drove back toward the crew, nearly striking them and crashing into the ODOT trailer.

Knouse then left the scene and headed east on the highway toward Prineville, when a citizen at the Powell Butte Country spotted the car and called 911 about the driver’s actions.

Knouse was arrested on charges of DUII, reckless driving, reckless endangering, failure to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run) and criminal mischief. Childers said Knouse provided breath samples that indicated his blood-alcohol content was .15, nearly twice the legal limit. He initially was held on $70,000 bail.

Knouse was arraigned and entered not-guilty pleas Tuesday on the seven Class A misdemeanor charges, court records show, and conditions were set for his release, if he can post 10 percent of the reduced $10,000 bail, including no alcohol use or possession.

Jail records indicate he was released Tuesday afternoon. A status hearing in the case is set for Friday.

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