Craig Orris

Craig Orris

A former Maquoketa city councilman was arrested after allegedly hitting someone with a vehicle and then leaving the scene.

Craig Orris, 42, of Maquoketa, was charged with first-offense domestic abuse assault or use of a weapon and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury. 

Orris allegedly drove over a person’s leg just before midnight on Sept. 22 at 15th Avenue and 140th Street, just inside the Jones County line.

The injured person was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids with leg injuries, according to charging documents filed by Jones County Deputy Sheriff Sean Snyder.

The incident began at Bill’s Tap in Maquoketa on Sept. 22, according to two witness interviews given to sheriff’s deputies. The witnesses were drinking there with Orris, according to charging documents, and he agreed to drive both to a friend’s house.

The witnesses later saw a vehicle following Orris’ vehicle in rural Jones County, according to charging documents. The driver of that vehicle eventually cut in front of Orris and blocked the gravel road in an attempt to stop him, then exited the vehicle, according to witness interviews with deputies. 

At that point, Orris allegedly drove over the person’s leg and continued driving down the road, charging documents allege. The witnesses, who were in the car with Orris, said they “pleaded” with Orris to return to the scene of the incident, and he complied.

Meanwhile, the injured party called 911, according to Jackson County law enforcement calls for service. Due to the location of the incident, that call was transferred to Jones County dispatch.

Jones County later called the Maquoketa Police Department for help in locating Orris. He was found at his home and arrested shortly after 1 a.m.

Orris refused to share his side of the story with officers; however, he indicated that he was not the driver of the vehicle, according to the charging documents. 

However, a witness told Deputy Snyder that Orris was the driver, charging documents allege.

Orris provided a preliminary breath sample more than an hour after the incident; his blood alcohol concentration measured more than twice the legal limit — 0.164 — according to charging documents.

Those charging documents also noted that both witnesses provided a breath sample that showed their blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08.

Orris was arrested and later released on $2,000 bond.

Both charges — the domestic abuse assault and use of a weapon and leaving the scene — are classified as aggravated misdemeanors. Such offenses are charged if the alleged perpetrator uses or displays a dangerous weapon in connection with an assault. 

The maximum penalty for someone convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor is two years in prison, according to Iowa Code; the minimum penalty is two days in jail. A conviction also includes a fine of $625 to $6,000.

The injured party sought a temporary protective order against Orris.

Orris represented Maquoketa’s 1st Ward after being elected to the city council seat in 2015. He resigned in 2018.

He did not respond to a request for comment.