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Driver charged in crash over embankment
December 14, 2012, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand, Daily Journal Staff
A Daly City man whose car crashed 300 feet down an embankment off Skyline Boulevard late Monday left his seriously injured passenger inside the vehicle for several hours before returning and trying to move the man into the driver’s seat before authorities arrived, according to prosecutors.

 The crash tied up the road Tuesday morning while emergency crews worked to free the injured man who was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with serious injuries but is expected to survive. Meanwhile, Henock Admassu, 23, appeared in San Mateo County Superior Court yesterday afternoon for arraignment on charges of felony drunk driving causing great bodily injury, fleeing the scene of an accident and driving on a suspended license.

The odd chain of events began just before midnight Dec. 10 when Admassu called 911 to say he was involved in an accident but disoriented and unclear where he left the vehicle containing an injured passenger. About 45 minutes later, he arrived at his sister’s home and awoke her with the same story. They spent the next few hours driving around looking for the spot and called 911 again around 4 a.m. to report the vehicle’s location, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

When Daly City police and the California Highway Patrol arrived, they spotted Admassu pulling the passenger from a Dodge Charger and pushing him back into the driver’s side seat, Wagstaffe said.

"He was trying to make it look like the passenger was actually the driver,” Wagstaffe said.

Admassu was uninjured in the crash and seven hours after his blood alcohol level was .05 which Wagstaffe said working backward puts the level closer to .2 at the time of collision.

Admassu has one prior conviction for driving while intoxicated.

In court Thursday, Admassu pleaded not guilty and asked for a court-appointed attorney. Bail was set at  $100,000 and a preliminary hearing set for Dec. 27.

Michelle Durand can be reached by email: michelle@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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