FULTON COUNTY - An army reservist doesn't know if he will be able to serve his country after he was hit by a convicted drunk driver. That driver, an anesthesiologist associated with Northside Hospital, pleaded guilty to four counts Friday.
Army reservist Alex Arca said he's glad the criminal case is behind him after Richard Ballard pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges, two counts of DUI, reckless driving and failure to yield.
"The judicial system works and he took responsibility for his actions," Arca said.
Ballard was facing felony charges, but a deal was reached between the district attorney's office and Ballard’s attorney. He was accused of hitting Arca in August 2012 with his car outside a Midtown bar, injuring Arca's foot and hand.
"I’ve had four surgeries, three on my foot and one on my hand and I will have to have a neck fusion surgery sometime on my neck soon," Arca said.
Atlanta police at the scene testified Ballard told them he had a couple of drinks. It turns out Ballard also had a previous DUI charge in Roswell. Arca, an Army Captain said that after 13 months of court cases and several surgeries on his hand and foot, he's ready to move forward. But he's not sure if he'll be able to fight for his country anymore.
"That's still up in the air. I don't know how fast I'll be able to run. I'm fortunate enough to be alive. Glad I can walk, but how long I can walk and how fast, I don't know," Arca said.
Ballard left court without talking Huddleston. He was sentenced to drug treatment and 2,000 hours of community service. His attorney said he will work with veterans. It's unclear if he'll keep his medical license.