Pedestrian in critical condition after being struck by driver - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pedestrian in critical condition after being struck by drunk driver

(WMC-TV) - A pedestrian is in critical condition after police say she was hit by a drunk driver late Friday night.

The car's driver, David Ackerman, told police he had two beers before the accident and he was under the legal limit just two hours after the accident.

Residents of the Memphis neighborhood say no matter how little you've had to drink, getting behind the wheel should be the last thing you do.

"I knew something serious was going on because they had this whole street blocked off; you couldn't even go past that light," said Emmanuel Williams.

Williams saw the scene on his way home late Friday night.

Cynthia Robertson owns a salon right near the accident and said lots of people cross the busy road near the intersection of Park and Maxey.

"We have a lot of pedestrians walking around, but traffic flows pretty evenly," Robertson said.

A witness told police he saw the woman fly up in the air after she was struck by the car. Neighbors said flashing lights could be seen all over the road.

"They had it blocked off; they wouldn't let anybody through," said Paul Anders.

Ackerman, 58, told police he had two beers while watching a basketball game three hours before he got behind the wheel, but police say he staggering and slurring his speech.

After Ackerman failed a field sobriety test, he was taken to jail. He's charged with vehicular assault, driving under the influence, reckless driving, and public intoxication.

Anders said if Ackerman was intoxicated, he deserves to be behind bars.

"They should be accountable for their drinks, just like everything else," Anders continued. "You should be held accountable for what you do and if you hit someone than you should be accountable for that."

Two hours after the accident, Ackerman was just under the legal limit, but residents of this neighborhood say that even one too many can have serious consequences.

"I don't think you should drink and drive period," said Williams.

Robertson said if you choose to drink, choose a responsible way home.

"Get a friend, a cab, or even walk, or stay home and drink," Robertson recommended.

Action News 5 went to Ackerman's last known address, but nobody answered the door.

Memphis police said they will have increased patrols out looking for drivers who have had too much to drink this St. Patrick's Day.  This year, if an officer suspects you are driving under the influence, if you have a previous conviction or a child in the car, you cannot refuse a blood test.

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