HANOVER COUNTY, Va. – During an emotional preliminary hearing Tuesday inside Hanover District Court, Dr. Michael Carlson went before a judge. Carlson is accused of driving drunk when he hit and killed runner Meg Menzies on January 13, 2014.
Hanover prosecutor Steven Royalty called three witnesses to testify during the hearing:
- Scott Menzies – Meg’s husband who was running with her the morning she was killed
- A responding officer
- A representative with the Hanover 911 Dispatch Center
While the 911 call Dr. Carlson made to dispatch played in court, Meg’s friends and family began to cry.
Scott Menzies then testified he saw a vehicle, driven by Dr. Carlson, lose control and hit Meg as she tried running into a ditch to get out of the way.
Scott Menzies described how he pleaded with Dr. Carlson to help, but noticed Carlson’s “slurred speech.” Scott, an Ashland Police Officer, said he then asked Carlson if he had been drinking. Scott said Carlson responded “no,” but Scott had a feeling Carlson “was being dishonest.”
Scott said during this time, Carlson ran back to his car and tried to drive it out of the ditch.
The final witness, the responding officer, backed up Scott Menzies’ description of Carlson’s slurred speech.
He also said Dr. Carlson failed several field sobriety tests. It was also revealed Carlson had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .11, the legal limit in Virginia is .08.
The responding officer added Carlson admitted to drinking beer and Vodka around 10 p.m. the night before the accident.
During the preceding Dr. Carlson stood next to his lawyer, motionless. He looked down the majority of the time.
When Carlson entered the hearing, he faced two charges. One misdemeanor DUI offense and a felony involuntary manslaughter charge. In a surprising twist, the DUI charge was nolle prossed– meaning it has been thrown out for now.
Prosecutor Royalty said this was a “procedural move” to help ensure the misdemeanor charge would not conflict with the felony offense.
The case now goes to a grand jury to determine probable cause. A status hearing has been schedule for July 30.