A Massachusetts man was driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian walking along a Boston roadway over the weekend, then drove away from the scene, prosecutors alleged in court on Monday.
Miguel Rodriguez, 36, of Lynn, was released on $5,000 bail after pleading not guilty in Charlestown Municipal Court to motor vehicle homicide, operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
The victim, Brandon Jennings, 22, of Marlborough, was struck on Storrow Drive at about 1 a.m. Saturday. He had been at a bar in the TD Garden area on Friday with some friends, but had split from the group, prosecutors said. He was seen walking on Storrow Drive near the off-ramp to the Tobin Bridge and Interstate 93, state police said.
Police are still trying to figure out what Jennings was doing walking on the road, and Jennings' family is looking for answers, too, after they say his bright future was cut tragically short.
“We don’t know too much about what was going on so we’re just trying to figure that out,” said Jennings' cousin Karine Aragao. "He had goals. He had big dreams. It’s just upsetting he won’t fulfill it."
Rodriguez was arrested later Saturday after another motorist saw the crash and called 911 while following the defendant and the Honda Accord he was driving to an apartment building in Lynn, according to authorities.
“Storrow Drive is a pretty fast moving lane. Whether or not someone’s able to see what’s happening, or see what's occurred at the exact moment is a real issue in this case. There wasn’t any significant damage to the car,” said Rodriguez's defense attorney Eduardo Masferrer.
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At the time of his arrest in the Centre Street parking lot, police say Rodriguez was carrying a key for the Accord and was under the influence of alcohol, nearly one and a half times the legal limit.
Prosecutors said Monday that Rodriguez had a blood alcohol level of .119 about two hours after the fatal crash. The legal limit to drive in Massachusetts is 0.08.
Rodriguez's attorney said his client expressed sympathy for the man who was killed Saturday but added that "anybody who was driving that night could've hit" the victim.
“He and his family’s hearts go out to the young man who passed away,” the defense attorney added.
The victim's family is upset with how low bail was set for Rodriguez, who was free to leave following his arraignment Monday.
"I mean we're really upset, like we are not okay with that. And there’s not much more that we can express," the victim's cousin shared.
"I think it’s a perfectly appropriate cash bail," Rodriguez's defense attorney countered. "This is not somebody who intended to do any harm. This is not somebody who has a prior conviction or prior record or anything like that.”
Rodriguez was ordered to remain alcohol free and is set to return to court in August.
The Associated Press contributed to this report