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Man charged in I-5 DUII misses court date

Staff reports

A California man facing five counts of felony assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants failed to appear for his arraignment Tuesday at Jackson County Circuit Court, court records show.

The charges against Eric Ray Kunkel, 48, stem from three-car accident on Interstate 5 in July. The wreck, near milepost 15, sent six people to the hospital.

Police believe Kunkel, a Sacramento resident, was driving drunk when he attempted to pass someone on the left shoulder of the freeway. In addition to the assault charges, Kunkel faces a count each of wreckless driving and second-degree criminal mischief.

The accident occurred when Kunkel&

s Acura caught the front corner of car he was passing. That vehicle, which was traveling in the left lane, smashed into Jeep Cherokee in the right lane. All three vehicles ran off the road and slammed into the embankment. The two cars rolled over in the accident, leaving the Kunkel&

s vehicle facing south, the second car heading straight up the hill and the front end of the Jeep pummeled in and facing north.

Kunkel was seriously injured in the crash. His 11-year-old son, who was his passenger, suffered minor injuries. Four people &

two local residents and two from Stockton, Calif. &

were taken to local hospitals after the accident.