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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
12:43 AM Mon, July 23rd

Rollover accident leads to injuries, felony charges

A Prescott teenager faces felony charges after allegedly fleeing the scene of a Saturday morning accident that sent two people to hospitals.

Just after 3 a.m. Saturday, Prescott police responded to a call about a 2005 Jeep Wrangler that rolled over in the 1400 block of Sierry Peaks Drive. Once there, they found a 16-year-old Prescott girl who they believed had been ejected from the vehicle. The girl was flown to John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital in serious condition. By Monday, her condition had improved to stable, according to Prescott Police Lt. Andy Reinhardt.

Police also found Richard Banta, 19, of Prescott, who was taken to Yavapai Regional Medical Center. Reinhardt said he was treated for his injuries and released.

"Investigators determined the Jeep was heading northbound toward Iron Springs Road when it collided with the east curb and rolled over," Reinhardt said. "It appears they (the girl and Banta) were not using seatbelts at the time of the collision. They were both rear-seat passengers."

Police later found David Benson, 23, of Camp Verde, a front-seat passenger, and Austin Johnson, 18, of Prescott, identified as the driver of the Jeep.

"Banta, Benson and the driver all fled the scene," Reinhardt said. "Johnson was later found to have a breath alcohol concentration of over 0.11."

Reinhardt said an officer booked Johnson into the Yavapai County jail on charges of three counts of felony aggravated assault, three counts of endangerment, DUI, and DUI drugs after THC - a marijuana metabolite - and oxycodone were allegedly found in his system. He was also charged with possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.