Man pleads guilty in hit-and-run injury wreck

Rosas Alaniz Jr. faces 13-17 months in prison in connection with the crash in October.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who caused a vehicle crash in the city two months ago and then ran from the scene pleaded guilty this morning in Superior Court to two criminal charges.

Rozas Alaniz Jr., 20, of 524 E. Cherry St., entered the guilty pleas to hit-and-run -- injury accident, which is a felony, and a gross-misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault.

Based on his criminal history, he faces a standard-range prison term of 13-17 months when he's sentenced later. The prosecution is recommending a mid-range sentence of 15 months.

Police said Alaniz was driving a vehicle east on Birch Street at First Avenue about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 8 when he failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with another vehicle.

He then fled on foot, as did his passenger.

Rubio D. Jimenez, 20, who was the other driver, and his passenger, John A. Nibler, also 20, suffered various injuries and were treated at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

A third victim, Coleman D. Cantrell, 17, later checked into the hospital's ER. He told police he was the passenger in the vehicle from which the driver fled, and that Alaniz was that driver, according to a police report filed in court.

Alaniz was located about 7:50 a.m. Oct. 9 at a residence in the 600 block of West Poplar Street and arrested.

All three victims of the collision were treated and released from the hospital.

Alaniz had been accused of felony vehicular assault because Jimenez returned to the hospital four days later for treatment of severe pain in his abdomen and over his entire left lower extremity, according to a supplemental police report filed in court.

Tests reportedly revealed that Jimenez had suffered a very small laceration to his spleen, and bruises on his shoulder and leg. He then was discharged home.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King said in court this morning the vehicular-assault charge against Alaniz was dropped because Jimenez's injuries weren't severe enough to meet the legal definition of the crime.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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