Friday, December 7, 2012

Police still investigating hit-and-run

Injured man released from St. Luke’s Wood River hospital

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum police are still trying to piece together the details of a car vs. pedestrian hit-and-run accident last week that sent a victim to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center in critical condition.

“We’re still interviewing witnesses to try to figure out what happened,” Ketchum Police Chief Steve Harkins said Wednesday.

The condition of the injured man, 39-year-old Benjamin B. Charles, of Ketchum, was upgraded to stable by Tuesday. The hospital reported Thursday that Charles was released on Wednesday.

The accident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, near the intersection of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue.

Harkins on Tuesday identified the driver of the vehicle as Peter Schernthanner, 43, of Oakland, Calif. Harkins said Schernthanner told police in an interview that a confrontation arose between himself and Charles because Charles was “trying to break into his vehicle,” which is described in a police report as a 2003 gray Toyota Tundra.

“A witness reported that the two were arguing outside of the vehicle and then Schernthanner entered the vehicle and began to drive away,” Harkins reported in a news release. “Charles was hanging on from the door of the vehicle and when Schernthanner drove away, Charles fell under the vehicle and his torso was run over by the back tire.”

Harkins said Schernthanner further reported that he was unaware that he ran over Charles.

The police chief said Charles had a blood-alcohol level of .27 when taken to the hospital and “has no recollection of the incident.”

No charges have yet been filed.

Terry Smith:

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