Deschutes County

Pair charged in S. county crash, shotgun blast

Driver accused in DUII hit-and-run crash into Vandevert Ranch gate

SUNRIVER, Ore. - A Sunriver man was arrested early Tuesday, accused of driving drunk and crashing his SUV into the gated entrance to Vandevert Ranch, then walking away unhurt with a passenger who allegedly fired a shotgun blast into the ground, authorities said.

Deschutes County sheriff's patrol deputies responded around 4:45 a.m. to the area of South Century Drive and Huntington Road, where a caller said two men were walking down the road, one carrying a shotgun he'd fired at least once in an unknown direction, said Sgt. Bryan Husband.

Deputies found the pair walking along South Century near the entrance to Thousand Trails Campground, the sergeant said, adding that because of the weapon, they were detained at gunpoint.

The men were identified as driver Juan Galvis Benavides, 45, of Sunriver, and passenger Nicholas Peterson, 21, of Challis, Idaho.

Authorities soon learned their white 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV had been found nearby, crashed into the entrance gate at the Vandevert Ranch subdivision, Husband said.

An investigation determined that Galvis Benavides had been driving drunk when he drove westbound through the intersection of Vandevert Road and South Century Drive, crashing into the subdivision's gated entrance.

The SUV got stuck on the landscaping rocks and gate, with major front-end damage, and later had to be towed from the scene by Central Oregon Towing, Husband said.

Neither man reported the crash as they walked away uninjured from the scene, the sergeant said. As they left on foot, Peterson allegedly fired one shot from his shotgun into the dirt, "for no apparent reason," Husband added.

The Hyundai's airbags deployed in the crash, he said, and it's not known if the men were wearing seat belts.

Galvis Benavides was taken to the Deschutes County Jail in Bend and lodged on charges of DUII, reckless driving, reckless endangering of another, failure to perform the duties of a driver (hit-and-run), second-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal mischief.

His bail was set at $16,000, and he later was released to a responsible third party, according to jail records.

Peterson was cited in lieu of custody on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and offensive littering and later released, Husband said.

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