Dr. Richard Ballard has a problem. Ballard, an anesthesiologist at Northside Hospital, is accused of hitting a pedestrian, Army Reserve Capt. Alex Arca, while driving drunk in September. Just six weeks prior to the accident, Ballard was arrested in a different DUI incident.
Now Ballard and his attorney are pushing to get the September DUI charge reduced to reckless driving. Arca, however, isn't having it. The Army reservist is working to make sure Ballard's charges aren't reduced, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Arca had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan when the September accident occurred. He was leaving Park Tavern on foot when a driver sped up and hit him, severely injuring Arca's leg. "I flew about five feet," he told Channel 2.
Witnesses said that Ballard was the driver. They told police that Ballard was acting impatient, complaining that Arca was walking too slowly. Ballard was arrested and charged with DUI, his second in six weeks.
Ballard is now trying to get the charge reduced to reckless driving, a lesser offense. It will probably be an uphill battle, however, considering it was the doctor's second DUI offense in less than two months.
He could face a serious injury by vehicle charge as well. A driver who causes an accident that leaves another person permanently maimed, disfigured, or brain-damaged can be found guilty of serious injury by vehicle. If convicted, Ballard faces up to 15 years in prison.
Arca has been on injury leave since the accident occurred. He recently learned he'll have to have surgery on his injured foot. "After that, I've got about another three to six months of rehabilitation, so you're looking at about a whole year of wearing this thing and trying to get back to being better," Arca told Channel 2.