Prosecutors: Hit-and-run suspect tried to hide damage to SUV

kterhune@idahostatesman.comAugust 28, 2013 

Hit-and-run suspect John Taylor French tried to cover up the damage to his SUV after running a red light and hitting a pedestrian Saturday night, prosecutors said.

At French’s Wednesday arraignment, prosecutors detailed how they believe the 19-year-old bought a hood and a headlight from a junkyard, then painted them to match his black Toyota 4Runner.

The old hood was found discarded in a dumpster, prosecutors said.

French has been charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident causing injury, felony destruction of evidence, and misdemeanor reckless driving.

He was arrested Tuesday night, three days after police said the SUV struck 24-year-old Alan Beavers in a Chinden Boulevard crosswalk.

Beavers remains in critical condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. He has been in a coma since he was hit.

Prosecutors said the victim suffered a broken femur, ruptured spleen, brain injury and other internal injuries, and asked a judge to set bond at $250,000 for French.

But an attorney for the suspect asked the judge to set a lower bond of $25,000, citing French’s ties to the community and lack of serious criminal history.

French has one past conviction of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and a handful of traffic violations, including a ticket for running a stop sign in 2011.

The judge set bond at $50,000. French will return to court for his next hearing at 8:30 a.m. Sept 11.

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