Boston Police say that three pedestrians were injured after a suspected drunk driver struck them in a crosswalk at the intersection of Columbus Ave and Clarendon Street on Friday, May 10.
Officers responded to the scene at about 11:55 p.m. on Friday. Two women and one man told officers that a driver at the intersection beeped at them and then accelerated through the crosswalk, striking all three of them. The driver of that vehicle, 64-year-old Michael Watkins, was arrested shortly following the crash.
Watkins allegedly fled the scene following the crash. Police eventually tracked him down on Tremont Street. According to the police report, officers smelled a strong smell of alcohol on Watkins' breath.
All three victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Watkins has been charged with three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of leaving the scene with personal injury, and operating under the influence.
Attorney contributor Kim Dougherty represents people who have been injured by drunk drivers, helping them secure the financial compensation they deserve. Here are a few general thoughts from Kim on the legal options available to people hit by drunk drivers in Massachusetts:
Massachusetts is one of several states with multiple types of lawsuits available to people who have been injured by drunk drivers. In most cases, people in this situation will have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. Additionally, Massachusetts and several other states have "dram shop" laws that allow alcohol vendors to be held liable for injuries caused by their customers, depending on certain conditions.
Massachusetts does not have a specific dram shop law on the books. However, alcohol vendors in the state are prohibited from selling alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated. When they do so anyway and that person causes injuries due to their intoxication, the injured parties may have grounds for a lawsuit against the alcohol vendor.
For example, imagine that a bartender continues serving a customer who is slurring their speech, falling off their stool, and falling asleep at the bar. If that customer leaves the bar and causes an accident with injuries, the people injured may have the right to sue the bar, along with the person who caused the accident.