D.A. will pursue felony charges against suspected hit and run driver
Richard N. Watson Jr., 23, was arrested the night of the incident on Nov. 5 and charged with a misdemeanor by State Police despite the fact that the victim had to undergo emergency surgery. However, according to court records, the District Attorney’s Office believes that the injuries justify a felony charge.
The victim, Mericka Hill, was walking to church with her two young children when she was struck by a truck allegedly driven by Watson. Hill pushed her children into a ditch but was unable to get out of harm’s way.
Hill struck the windshield and was hit with so much force that each of her socks were found in opposite directions more than 20 feet from her body. She suffered a fractured left ankle, fractured right foot and internal injuries to her spleen, bladder and kidneys.
After hitting Hill, the truck drove off without stopping.Six hours later, Watson was pulled over by a St. Charles Parish deputy who was working speed enforcement on River Road, according to court documents. The deputy says he stopped Watson after recording his truck going 53 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone. The deputy noticed that the truck had fresh damage to the hood and fender as well as a partially shattered windshield with hair stuck to it.
According to the deputy, Watson blamed the windshield damage on a rock that was thrown at his car. He said he was scared and drove off without stopping.
Watson was issued a citation for the hit and run in addition to charges of speeding and DWI.
Though Watson passed a breathalyzer test, he was believed to be under the influence of narcotics.
Watson told the arresting deputy that he had taken prescription medication a few hours before his arrest.
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