DUI Suspected After Car Hits, Kills Man on Sidewalk in Petaluma

Driver has a pending court date for a previous DUI crash, police say

Petaluma PD

A 53-year-old man standing on the sidewalk died Tuesday night after being struck by a suspected drunken driver already in court over a previous DUI collision two years earlier, Petaluma police said.

Police said their investigation showed James Watkins, 41, of Cotati, was driving a 2011 white Toyota Prius southbound on McDowell Boulevard, just prior to Baywood Drive, about 7 p.m., went over the sidewalk, striking the victim just before entering the intersection, which has a roundabout.

Police said two off-duty law enforcement officers and one off-duty nurse were giving the man medical care when officers arrived. He was taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Watkins, whose car landed in the middle of the roundabout, was uninjured, but police suspected DUI and had him tested at a local hospital.

Police said Watkins "has a pending court date from a 2018 DUI collision arrest in Sonoma County."

Watkins was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

The identity of the 53-year-old victim is being withheld pending notification to his family.

Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact traffic Officer Mike Pierre at 707-781-1208.

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