A Madison County non-jury trial over an allegedly stolen car motor could not get under way Wednesday because a witness refused to show up.

Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth granted a defense motion to continue the trial of John Prior v. Charlie Cairns until late August. He also ordered the absent witness, named in court records as "Ron Fisher," to give a reason why he should not be cited for contempt of court for not appearing.

The non-jury trial had previously been moved from July 8.

Prior brought the suit in 2006 against Charlie Cairns, the owner of Pro Craft Racing Engines in Granite City.

In his suit, Prior alleges that he brought Cairns a racing engine to work on and that he paid him about $10,500 for his service. He claims he tried to arrange to pay Cairns an additional $12,035 for the work but that Cairns would not return his calls.

Prior claims that he has been led to believe the engine was sold to someone else.

He has asked for the return of the motor, at least $50,000 in damages, costs, and attorneys' fees.

The new trial is set for Aug. 27 at 9 a.m.

The case is Madison case number 06-L-1072.

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