• Doctor had previous DUI before allegedly striking man

    By: Dave Huddleston


    ATLANTA - Police have added more charges against a Northside Hospital doctor accused of driving drunk and hitting a pedestrian.

    Because of Channel 2 Action News' story, the Fulton County district attorney found out the incident was the doctor's second DUI in six weeks.

    Channel 2's Dave Huddleston found out Dr. Richard Ballard's Sept. 28 Atlanta drunk-driving charge isn't his first offense.

    Huddleston obtained a copy of Ballard's mug shot from six weeks earlier, when he was arrested for DUI in Roswell.

    That was shocking to Alex Arca, the man police say Ballard hit in September.

    "This is something that didn't have to happen," Arca said. "I just hope he gets help. It's a sad situation."

    Arca is a reserve Army captain who did three tours in the Middle East. He told Huddleston he's supposed to be on weekend duty with his unit, but can't with his injured foot.

    "Every month we have drill and we do P.T. I can't train with my guys. So, missing out on a lot of things," Arca said.

    One week ago, Ballard and his prominent defense attorney, Steve Weiner, were in municipal court trying to get his September DUI charge reduced to reckless driving, a misdemeanor.

    But with information on the August DUI, Arca's attorney, Bryan Howard, said Ballard not only faces new charges, but could possibly spend more than a decade behind bars.

    "Now he could face up to 15 years in prison under a serious injury by vehicle," Howard said. "The scary thing is he obviously has a problem and he need so some help to take care of this problem."

    Meantime, Arca has learned he will need surgery on his foot.

    "After that, I've got about another three to six months of rehabilitation, so you're looking at about a whole year of wearing this thing and trying to get back to being better," Arca said, showing Huddleston his cast.

    Ballard's next court date is scheduled for Nov. 28.

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