Driver arrested on suspicion of DUI, hit and run |

Driver arrested on suspicion of DUI, hit and run

A transient suspected of driving drunk and causing an accident that sent a dirt bike rider to the hospital, then leaving the scene for more than an hour, remains in county jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Benjamin James Newcomb, 37, was driving a Jeep Cherokee westbound on Tyler Foote Crossing Road just west of Black Sands Mine Road a little after 5 p.m. Saturday and hit a curve at an unsafe speed, said California Highway Patrol Officer Jason Bice.

Newcomb’s Jeep slid to the left, into the path of two dirt bike riders going eastbound, Bice said. One of the dirt bikers dove to the right shoulder, onto an embankment, to avoid the vehicle. But the second rider — identified as Ian Argo, of Camptonville — initially tried to swerve to the right, then went left at the same time that the Jeep slid back to the right, Bice said.

Argo’s dirt bike subsequently hit the front of the Jeep, and he was thrown, landing on the ground and sustaining a reported broken leg and a large laceration.

Newcomb reportedly got out of the Jeep and checked on Argo before speaking briefly to the second rider, who asked him to head to North San Juan and get help. He left the scene without providing any information and was MIA for about an hour and a half, Bice said.

The CHP, as well as Calfire and North San Juan firefighters and an ambulance, subsequently responded to the scene of the accident, and Argo was flown to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Newcomb returned while the accident scene was being cleaned up, Bice said, adding that he claimed to have called 911 from North San Juan although there were no phone records of such a call.

He was reportedly determined to be intoxicated and was arrested on suspicion of hit and run causing injury and driving under the influence, causing injury.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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