Two charged with hit-and-run, DUI after switching driversTwo people face multiple charges following an apparent hit-and-run Saturday afternoon in Mitchell.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
Two people face multiple charges following an apparent hit-and-run Saturday afternoon in Mitchell.
Ivan Ray Watts, 36, of Mission, was allegedly driving in the 100 block of West Seventh Avenue with Jerilyn Roberta Grassrope, 40, of Mitchell, as a passenger when he sideswiped another vehicle, court documents say.
After allegedly leaving the scene of the crash, Watts and Grassrope switched positions in the vehicle before they were found by police in the 400 block of East First Avenue.
Though he was seated in the passenger seat when law enforcement arrived, a police affidavit says several witnesses to the crash identified Watts as the person driving the vehicle.
Police noticed Watts smelled strongly of alcohol and “staggered and swayed” as he walked, the affidavit says, and later passed out in the backseat of a police car.
Grassrope, who was behind the wheel of the vehicle when police arrived, failed a series of field sobriety tests administered by police at the scene.
Police allegedly found three open alcohol containers in the SUV.
Watts is charged with third-offense drunken driving, hit-and-run causing property damage, careless driving, driving with a suspended license and open alcohol container in a motor vehicle.
He faces a maximum of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine if convicted of third-offense drunken driving, the most serious charge and the only felony.
Grassrope is charged with second-offense drunken driving and driving without a valid license.
She faces a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted of second-offense drunken driving, a misdemeanor.
According to state law, drunken driving is a felony after a person has three or more offenses in any 10-year period.
Watts is scheduled to appear in court later this month and Grassrope is scheduled to appear in court in October.