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Police: Drunk driver beeps at pedestrians in South End crosswalk, accelerates, runs right into them

UPDATE: Suspect arraigned.

Boston Police report a driver rammed into three pedestrians at Columbus Avenue and Clarendon Street late Friday night.

According to police, two women and a man were in the crosswalk shortly before midnight when Michael Watkins, 64, of Roxbury, honked at them, then sped up and hit them. Police say Watkins just kept going - but that arriving officers found him and his car not far away on Tremont Street.

While speaking with the operator, officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the suspect’s breath. Further investigation led officers to take the suspect into custody.

The victims were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, police say.

Watkins was charged with OUI, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of leaving the scene of a personal-injury accident.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

"almost" hit me.

We should just make any and all forms of reckless driving punishable by jail time, so these losers can't bargain down. Hit and run should also get the same penalties as OUI, removing the incentive. You hit people, you drive off, you get arrested.

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Pretty serious offense right there.

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His driving privileges should be revoked for the rest of time. Police stations ought to have his picture posted, with a statement that if he's seen driving anything with a motor, he is to be arrested immediately.

This man will never be suitable to operate a vehicle. Ever.

OMG. He's a surgeon at MGH.

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In the midst of thoughtful discussion to remove non violent offenders from incarceration, you want mandatory minimums for reckless driving! Lol.

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I would say deliberately running over three people is violent.

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Maybe he intended to brake, not accelerate.

I'm sure he didn't intend to be drunk, it's just that someone accidentally poured a bottle of liquor in his mouth thinking he was a plant and the liquor was water. Honest mistake.

Likewise, he didn't intend to honk the horn, but rather safely apply the brakes. But due to a childhood illness, his hands often move when he intends to move his legs. Unfortunate but understandable.

When you think about it, isn't the driver the real victim here?

/S

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That’s not reckless driving.

Around 10,000 per year in the US.

How many pedestrians killed or maimed last year in Boston?

Hundreds.

These are not nonviolent crimes. High time that we prosecute them as violent offenses - just as we do for indiscriminate firing of a firearm.

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We see "assault and battery with dangerous weapon" all the time. Not here? I wonder why not.

Frankly, I wonder why it isn't attempted murder. If the (albeit, brief and incomplete) description here holds up -- that he saw them, honked at them, and then sped up to hit them -- how is that not attempted murder?

From Adam's original post:

Watkins was charged with OUI, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of leaving the scene of a personal-injury accident.

So, you can stop wondering "why not here." Because the charge was applied here.

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Maybe I missed it. Maybe adam refined the post later. Either way, tone it town a skosh.

And my second question still stands -- why not attempted murder.

I cross at this intersection every day coming home from work. As a pedestrian you have to wait for the walk signal then it give it another 5 seconds for the entitled assholes to run the red. Then you can try to cross. It's literally every single red light from 5-6pm. If they bothered to write tickets in Boston they could make quota in an hour here.

Still beats all the Boylston turns where the drivers don't yield to pedestrians with the walk signal and crosswalk. I get honked at and almost run over everyday crossing legally on a walk sign. It really needs to stop.

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I'm a walker and runner and I cross here now and then. I cross more often at Dartmouth. I rarely see a pedestrian wait for the walk signal, and rarely see drivers running the red. (Running yellow, definitely). I'm not excusing this driver, but please don't suggest that many Bostonians wait for the walk signal, especially outside of rush hour.

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You were given a specific time frame - not "now and then" but "5-6pm".

You can go see for yourself.

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"please don't suggest that many Bostonians wait for the walk signal"

I wasn't suggesting that at all. You cherry picked that out of a single part of a sentence and ran with it. I'm not talking about people who walk into traffic. I'm taking about myself, who always waits for a signal and yet still have almost been hit about once a week in the ten years I've lived in the city. I
You say you cross at Dartmouth, that's been pretty good since they made it a 4 way stop but there have been multiple pedestrians hit there including one guy who died a few years ago.

All you have to do to see this aggressive driving in action is go to the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston in front of the Copley entrance any day of the week and watch as the people who wait and cross with a walk sign get honked and sworn at by drivers turning left As they try to inch their cars closer and closer to intimidate them, often driving between two groups of pedestrians. Or more dangerously, when the ahole behind a good driver who stopped, tries to angrily gun it around the car in front and turn left from the second lane and nearly kills someone.

You can also try Boylston and Berkley, I had a guy lay on his horn and try to drive into me and a coworker while we were crossing with the signal. Then he swore at us and flipped us off as he angrily sped off as if we were somehow in the wrong.

This happens just about every light. Give it a try sometime. I can also give you about twenty other intersections around the city where you see the same behavior. It's baffling to me, if people are this mad driving in the city they should not be allowed behind the wheel. I wish the city would do something about it.

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and most people -- not all -- do wait for the walk sign. This is actually one of the few intersections in the city that will give a protected four-way walk light on its cycle -- enabling pedestrians to cross the intersection diagonally.

Sadly, if you're on foot you're considered a nobody compared to people on wheels. It's a car and bike entitled city and we pedestrians are left to fend for ourselves.

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Drivers are waging a war against pedestrians. This driver tried to kill these pedestrians and there are more drivers like him out there. These disgusting, dangerous, entitled animals need to be locked up.

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And by that I mean that perhaps you should actually befriend a motorist or two. You’d be surprised to discover that 99.9% of motorists do not want to hit anything, let alone a living thing, and certainly not a human being.

But then again, if you broadened your horizon, you wouldn’t be you, so keep on being closed minded.

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Well more than 1 in 1000 (0.1%) drive like they don't value the lives of bicyclists or pedestrians. Either your estimate is wrong, or you seem to think that "wishing" and "acting" constitute the same thing.

For the sake of argument, let’s use your number (.1%). I’d argue the real number is between 10 and 100 times greater, but sure, I’ll let you have it. Boston’s population is north of 600k; the number of people in the greater metro area who drive on our streets is north of a million. By your numbers, there are a thousand people on the roads, today, using their vehicles as assault weapons every time they run a red or fail to yield on a turn. A thousand people! Driving around in broad daylight! If we had that many people firing guns into the air, they’d shut down the city and bring in the feds. Explain to me again why we can’t post a marked cruiser at the crosswalks where tons of people tell stories about dangerous motor vehicalists taking pedestrian lives in their own hands? Because you think kinopio doesn’t like cars, and it offends your delicate sensibilities ? Ok, bro

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He said “drivers”. That’s 100%

I never said that traffic laws shouldn’t be enforced. They should be. Are you support the contention that everyone in a vehicle is trying to kill people?

for the laugh this morning. The amusement I get from your ridiculous sweeping generalizations always brightens my day!

Anyway, I hope the victims are ok and this guy is kept off the road.

Your "don't hit people with your cars" crusade is going too far; please consider that many drivers don't actually WANT to hit pedestrians, they just don't really care enough to pay attention to what they're doing

But I saw a bicyclist run a red light!!

if he is black the book shall be thrown at him, as it should, but just not as harshly as it undoubtedly will be.