A Prineville man was arrested Monday for drunk driving after nearly running over an ODOT construction crew and ramming into a trailer and construction sign, according to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Jacob Childers said the suspect, 25-year-old Aaron Knouse, had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.
The incident started around 8 p.m. when deputies were dispatched to a traffic complaint on Highway 126 in Powell Butte.
Childers said the caller reported a small gray sedan traveling east on Hwy. 126 was driving all over the road, had driven onto the gravel shoulder multiple times, was passing vehicles and had nearly caused some accidents.
The reporting party further indicated the gray sedan had struck a road construction sign on the shoulder of the highway and continued driving east.
Childers said the gray sedan was seen by the 911 caller as it pulled over onto the eastbound shoulder near milepost 12 and came to a stop.
The 911 caller also stopped, made contact with the driver and reported that the driver appeared very intoxicated, Childers said.
Upon arriving, Deputies saw a gray 2015 Ford Fiesta sedan parked on the eastbound shoulder of Hwy. 126 at milepost 12.
Deputies noticed that the car had fresh damage consistent with striking the construction sign.
Deputies contacted the 911 caller as well as the driver/sole occupant of the vehicle, who was identified as Knouse.
While investigating the initial reports, an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) employee pulled up to the scene and said the suspect had just been involved in a collision with an ODOT construction trailer and had nearly run over several ODOT employees who were conducting a safety meeting at Hwy. 126 and SW Remington Ranch Rd.
The ODOT employee indicated that Knouse drove away from the scene after being told by a worker that he could be arrested for his actions, Childers said.
Deputies completed their investigation and determined that Knouse had been traveling east on Hwy. 126 near Remington Ranch Road when he passed by an ODOT construction crew.
Knouse subsequently turned around and drove back toward the crew, nearly striking them and crashing into the ODOT trailer.
He left this scene and continued east on Hwy. 126 toward Prineville.
Childers said Knouse was then seen near the Powell Butte Country Store by a citizen.
This citizen observed Knause failing to maintain his lane and nearly causing some crashes.
The citizen further observed Knouse strike an ODOT road construction sign and continue driving eastbound before stopping. Deputies determined that Aaron was impaired by alcohol.
He was subsequently arrested for DUII, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Fail to Perform Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run), and Criminal Mischief.
He provided breath samples which indicated that his Blood Alcohol Concentration was .15 (nearly twice the legal limit), Childers said.
Knause was booked into the Crook County Jail; his bail is set at $70,000.