A prominent emergency room doctor is facing driving under the infuence charges after police say she sped through a Whole Foods parking lot and slammed into another car, sending one man to the Wellesley, Mass., ER she works in.
Police say Dr. Kristin Howard, 56, was behind the wheel Friday morning when they found class C and E controlled substances in her possession, prescriptions that she allegedly wrote herself. On Tuesday, Howard pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including driving under the influence and drug violations.
The man who was hit, 78-year-old Paul McDonald, was taken to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where Howard works and was named Doctor of the Year in 2009, according to her lawyer. McDonald suffered two cracked ribs and a hematoma on his leg.
"I got hammered, and I thought it was the end of the world. I thought a bomb went off inside the car," McDonald told ABC News affiliate WCVB. "The next day I thought I was in a street fight," he added.
Video from a traffic light shows Howard's Subaru Outback barrel out of the Whole Foods grocery store parking lot shortly after 8:45 a.m. The car traveled over the median, going airborne before crashing into the road striking McDonald's Mercury Marquis, which then slammed into a truck in the other lane.
Police say that when they stopped Howard she was still wearing scrubs and told them she was on her way to the hospital. She then changed her story and told police she was heading home. That's when police found the prescription drugs.
"Prescribed from Dr. Howard to Kristin Howard, which certainly raises some flags, your honor," prosecutor Matt Friedel said in court.
Massachusetts law forbids doctors from self-prescribing medication.
Howard's attorney told a judge that his client has been struggling with personal issues.
"She has a reputation for trying to save lives. And was given the award of Doctor of the Year at Newton-Wellesley in 2009," defense attorney Katherine Hatch said.
Howard was released on her own recognizance Tuesday, but has been relieved of hospital duties. She's been ordered to stay sober and will return to court Jan. 7.
As for McDonald, he's healing from his injuries and holds no grudge against Howard.
"Poor woman's probably got more problems than I'll ever have, so let it go with that," McDonald said.
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