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updated: 6/15/2011 9:12 PM

McHenry teen facing fourth DUI charge

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Charges are pending against a 19-year-old McHenry man with a history of three separate DUI charges after an alcohol-influenced dirt bike crash Tuesday night, according to police.

Christopher E. Benjamin was driving a dirt bike south down the middle of Chapel Hill Road about 9:50 p.m. before laying the bike down with his girlfriend on the back as they were about to run into a car, police said.

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Benjamin's 16-year-old girlfriend on the back of the headlight-less bike was wearing his helmet when the crash occurred at Chapel Hill and North River roads, said Sgt. Daniel Patenaude of the McHenry County sheriff's office.

Police said alcohol played a factor in the crash, which sent both Benjamin and his girlfriend to Northern Illinois Medical Center. Benjamin then was immediately airlifted from the hospital to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Patenaude said.

His girlfriend was treated for minor injuries, and Benjamin was treated for nonlife-threatening injuries -- mainly a number of broken bones -- authorities said.

Police said the driver of the vehicle that the two slid into did not see them coming down the middle of the road but could hear the dirt bike's engine and began to stop before the collision.

McHenry County court records indicate Benjamin is facing three separate charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, which have all been continued numerous times and are awaiting trial.

He was first charged on April 27, 2010, again on Aug. 14, 2010, and for a third time on April 21, 2011, according to court records.

Benjamin was also charged with driving a watercraft under the influence on July 8, 2010.

Police said he was on his way from his girlfriend's home to his own house Tuesday night when the crash occurred.

Charges are pending his release from the hospital, according to police.

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