Charge added in hit-and-run case

Rozas Alanis Jr. now faces a vehicular assault charge in addition to a hit-and-run charge connected with a wreck last month.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who allegedly caused a vehicle crash in the city a month ago and then ran from the scene now faces an additional felony charge in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Rozas Alaniz Jr., 20, of 524 E. Cherry St., still is accused of hit and run -- injury, which is a felony, and first-degree driving while license suspended or revoked, a gross misdemeanor.

But the charge of vehicular assault has been added at the request of the Prosecuting Attorney's Office because Rubio D. Jimenez -- who was hurt in the crash -- reportedly suffered "substantial bodily harm" as defined by state law and Alaniz allegedly was driving in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others.

Judge Donald W. Schacht granted the motion to add the charge Monday. Alaniz's trial is set for Dec. 8 and 9.

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 allegedly fled on foot, as did his passenger.

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.

But Jimenez returned four days later because 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.

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

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