A 51-year-old woman is in critical condition after a possibly drunken driver struck her Wednesday night as she walked across the street in St. Paul.
Police found several open and unopened containers of liquor and beer in the suspect’s car, including one under the driver’s seat, said police spokesman Steve Linders. The driver, a 63-year-old man from Greenville, S.C., was arrested but had not been charged as of early Thursday afternoon.
“He says he did not see the pedestrian,” Linders said. “He admitted to consuming alcohol.”
The woman, Joy Hundley of South St. Paul, was unconscious and taken to Regions Hospital with head injuries and a possible spinal cord injury, according to police.
The collision occurred about 9:20 p.m. at the intersection of E. Fillmore Avenue and S. Robert Street, on St. Paul’s West Side.
According to a police report and Linders: The driver told police he was traveling eastbound on Fillmore Avenue when he turned north onto Robert Street and struck Hundley.
A 19-year-old employee with St. Paul Parks and Recreation was nearby and heard the collision. She had just undergone CPR training and performed the live-saving measure on Hundley before medics arrived. She did not witness the collision and declined to comment Thursday.
Police questioned the driver at the scene and smelled alcohol on his breath. The man failed field sobriety tests and had a preliminary blood-alcohol-content of 0.139, Linders said.
The driver told police he was in town visiting relatives and that he had consumed a “couple of beers” by the river, Linders said.
The intersection is controlled by a four-way traffic stop. Linders said police are investigating who had the right of way at the time.
“Nonetheless,” he said, “[the man] was drunk and severely injured a pedestrian, which is a preventable tragedy.”