MGH surgeon accused of driving drunk, charged with hitting 3 pedestrians

MGH surgeon accused of driving drunk charged with hitting 3 pedestrians

BOSTON — A surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital was arraigned Tuesday for allegedly driving drunk and hitting three pedestrians.

Michael T. Watkins, 64, of Roxbury, is accused of striking three pedestrians at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Clarendon Street in the South End Friday night.

Boston Police said Watkins fled the scene after hitting two women and one man, and was later found and arrested close to the scene on Tremont Street, in the South End.

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The victims told police that Watkins honked his horn at them while they were crossing the street and then accelerated towards them, effectively hitting all three.

All three victims were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Arresting officers reported Watkins' breath smelled strongly of alcohol. Watkins allegedly told them he had "3 glasses of Dewar's on the rocks."

Reports reveal Watkins had a blood alcohol level of 0.11%, while the legal limit is 0.08%.

Watkins pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; three counts of leaving the scene of a personal injury; and one count of operating under the influence of alcohol. He was released on $1,500 bail.

Watkins' attorney said in court that his client was not beeping at the pedestrians, but at another car blocking the crosswalk and his blood-alcohol measurement was barely above the legal limit to drive.

According to MGH's website, Watkins has been the director of the Vascular Surgery Research Laboratory at the hospital since 2002 and is a visiting surgeon and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

MGH, in a statement, wished the pedestrians a "speedy recovery," and called Watkins "a highly regarded senior vascular surgeon who has long been a leader on the MGH medical staff." "The hospital continues to follow this matter closely and will determine what action to take after more information is available," the statement said.

Wednesday morning, an MGH spokeswoman said Watkins is "currently on leave from his hospital responsibilities."

Watkins is due back in court July 30.