Army reservist struck by alleged drunken driver

by: Dave Huddleston Updated:

ATLANTA - An Army captain who recently returned from the Middle East was struck by a driver suspected of being drunk. Now, the soldier fighting to make sure the suspect doesn’t get the charges reduced.

"After serving three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and leaving unscathed, it hurts to come home and get hurt by a professional, someone who should know better," reservist Alex Arca said.

Arca said he was leaving midtown Atlanta’s Park Tavern restaurant Sept. 28 when a driver sped up and hit him, severely injuring his leg and foot.

“I flew about 5 feet,” he said.

Police charged anesthesiologist Dr. Richard Ballard. Witnesses said he became impatient, complaining that pedestrian traffic was moving too slowly. 

But Ballard has hired prominent attorney Steven Weiner, and is working to have the DUI charges reduced to reckless driving.  Arca said the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization has thrown its support behind him, asking the city to not reduce the charges.

In a small victory for Acra, Judge Crystal Gaines in Atlanta Municipal Court ordered the case be held over. She wants to hear more evidence before ruling.  Ballard left the courtroom after seeing a Channel 2 camera, and his attorney declined to comment. 

The next court date is Nov. 29.