Lawyer: Doctor had .11 BAC on way to work when he fatally hit Hanover runner

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HANOVER COUNTRY, Va. (WTVR)--Details are emerging in the fatal accident involving a Bon Secours doctor who police said was driving under the influence when he struck and killed a well-known Hanover mother on her morning run.

A search warrant for the gray 2008 Toyota Sequoia driven by Dr. Michael J. Carlson became available late Tuesday afternoon, and revealed that officers found beer and prescription medication inside the vehicle.

Hanover DUIA 12-ounce bottle of Samuel Adams Winter Lager, and  prescription bottle of Prednisone containing 20-mg tablets, and a sample package containing two 20-mg. tablets of Levitra were recovered.

In addition to these items, Carlson's iPhone 4 was seized.

Carlson’s blood alcohol content was .11  at the time of the crash, a member of his legal representation confirmed. The legal limit is .08.

Around 8:15 a.m., Carlson was traveling westbound on E. Patrick Henry Road to his job as an internist at Theresa Thomas Medical Center when he struck Meg Menzies, 34, as she ran east on the westbound shoulder, according to police.

Hundreds have responded to a Facebook invitation to run in honor of Meg Menzies.

Hundreds have responded to a Facebook invitation to run in honor of Meg Menzies.

Carlson stopped at the scene, called 911 and attempted to help Menzies, his lawyer Gregory Sheldon said in court. She was transported by Hanover Fire-EMS to VCU Medical Center where she later died as a result of her injuries.

The responding officer said that Carlson reached down to adjust the radio and ran off the road. He told the officer that he saw a runner but was unable to avoid the individual.

The officer said he smelled alcohol on Carlson, whose speech he said was slurred. The officers also said that Carlson's eyes were red and he seemed "unsteady" on his feet. Carlson told the officer that he drank until around 10 p.m. but not since.

Carlson’s lawyers argued during a bond hearing Tuesday morning that the doctor, who appeared via video feed, was not a flight risk due to his strong community ties and current health situation.

Carlson was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006 and currently undergoes chemotherapy, according to his lawyers. He has custody of his three children and cares for his fiancee’s two children.

Carlson’s lawyer argued the doctor had no history of substance abuse, nor prior criminal history. He was granted a $25,000 dollar bond Tuesday.

Under the judge’s order, Carlson is not allowed to drink alcohol and must wear a SCRAM bracelet, which lets the court know if a person has been drinking alcohol.

Carlson, a New York native who moved to central Virginia 15 year ago, lost his own wife to an automobile accident 10 years ago.

In 2004, he was visiting relatives in New York with his wife Claudia, who was a licensed accountant in Richmond. She was out alone on a shopping trip for her daughter when a commercial delivery van hit her vehicle head-on.

Thirteen days later she passed away as a result of her injuries.

The driver of the delivery company MVP was on a personal errand at the time of the accident. He testified, according to reports,  that he was trying to avoid an accident with another vehicle.

In 2006, Carlson won a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit in New York, considered at the time to be one of the largest settlements in the region.

During the 2006 trial, one of the attorneys who represented the Carlson family in the case told the Buffalo paper, “In all my 30 years of trying personal injury cases, I have never met a more decent family who has suffered to this extent.”

A classmate of two of Carlson’s children at Hanover High School, who did not want to be identified, told CBS 6 that the kids left school early on Monday and did not come to school Tuesday.

Carlson will return to court on April 2.

megtreeFlowers and running shoes mark the roadside memorial for Menzies, who had strong ties to the running community.

By Tuesday night more than 27,000 people have responded to a Facebook invitation to run Saturday in honor of Meg Menzies.

“As an avid runner, member of the Richmond Road Runners Club, and Boston marathoner, she was a member of the running family nationwide. In her honor, our hope is to raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere,” a message on the Meg’s MilesFacebook page read.

Menzies was also a mother of three and married to Ashland Police Department Sergeant Scott Menzies.

“Meg has equally been a part of our law enforcement family for nearly a decade and her presence in our midst, and especially that of her family, will be sorely missed,” Ashland Police Chief Doug Goodman wrote in a statement.

“With her support, Sergeant Menzies has been a steadfast catalyst for improving safety in our community. Whether working late on DUI enforcement patrols or coming in on his day off to lead a public education program focusing on the dangers of drunk driving, Sgt. Menzies always had her unyielding support. To lose his wife in this manner is simply unfathomable.”



    • Believer

      Very sad for both families.Dr carlson is a wonderful clinician and caring doctor. His current cancer and treatment could have explained the exacerbation and prolongation of any alcohol consumption from the previous night. He was at fault but question;? Why would a mother of 3 young children take the risk of running on a road where 2,deaths had already occurred on the same road? Prayers for both sets of children who have lost their mother in tragic accidents!

      • sw

        You really should stop making excuses for this man and how dare you to put any blame on this mother. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Paula Kennedy

        Are you kidding me??? You have the gall to cover for this idiot and want to turn this around to the Mother’s FAULT!!!!!!! I am so sick of this man having so many people protect him and blame his actions on Cancer!!!! There are many, many survivors of cancer and people being treated for this horrible disease for some idiots to say this disease or the treatment caused his drunk butt to kill a wonderful person. Shame on you for saying she had anything to do with this!!! She has every right to jog on the road…..he had NO right to drink on the road!!

      • Sonya Epperson Brinton

        Why should ANYONE have to worry about where one should run without being hit? Cancer or not, there is no excuse for drinking and driving and with the inclusion of drugs is even worse. He is a doctor and he of all people should know better. Both families will suffer because of his careless decision.

      • Rob

        I agree with Believer. I also think you can think like Believer and at the same time, feel absolutely terrible for the victim’s family. This isn’t about making excuses for what has happened. The guy has cancer, will never practice his profession ever again, lost his wife and now has to think that he did the exact same thing to another man. There are only losers here.

      • Glen

        Believer, your questioning of the Mrs. Menzies choice to run on that road is abhorrent.

        Beyond that, I question if you have any scientific standing for your speculation that his chemotherapy treatment could have caused his alcohol consumption to be exacerbated and prolonged. If I’m interpreting correctly, you’re saying he may have only had a few drinks the night before but the chemo medicine not only multiplied the amount of alcohol in his system, but also kept his body from processing it in the normal fashion and lowering his BAC overnight. If you can say that with a straight face, I think you’ve missed out on a career in mucking stalls.

        Not minimizing cancer at all; if I were so diagnosed, I imagine I would drink quite heavily–at home, and not on a “school night.” No responsible person, doctor or no, cancer or no, rolls into work in the morning legally drunk.

        I wonder as an internist if he possibly endangered or harmed any of his patients by showing up to work and attempting to perform his duties while intoxicated.

        To the other commenter who questioned whether the tragedy would be of a different magnitude if it were perhaps a teenager texting, in my opinion it would. While you hope teenagers will be responsible, they are still young, inexperienced and frequently make mistakes. The doctor should under no circumstances be driving to work drunk and as an adult with a position of responsibility for the health and welfare of his fellow human beings it is that much worse. You can debate whether he should have been more concerned about driving drunk at all or being drunk while diagnosing and treating his patients, but either way he damned well should have “known better.”

      • Jen

        To Glen:
        Google chemotherapy and alcohol. There is science behind what believer said. I do believe that he probably had a bunch of drinks during the playoff games and not necessarily the morning of. However, Dr. Carlson seems somewhat negligent in choosing to drink at all. These details are only important in trying to figure how much time he should serve and do not take away from the fact that he destroyed two families, the victim’s and his own.

      • Glen

        To Jen: I googled chemotherapy and alcohol before my initial response and again upon reading yours, but I didn’t spend hours researching it by any means. I saw nothing to indicate that the chemotherapy drugs multiply the amount of alcohol beyond that which you consume, nor anything to indicate that chemotherapy drugs stop the processing of alcohol in the liver. On the contrary, I saw several references to alcohol interfering with the metabolization of specific chemotherapy drugs and numerous indications that alcohol should only be consumed in moderation (wholly dependant upon which drugs are being used) or avoided altogether. You may well be an expert in biochemistry or have specialized knowledge of the interaction of alcohol with chemotherapy drugs; if there’s a specific reference or link you could provide, I would be grateful and stand corrected.

      • sw

        To Jen…I’m sorry but the man had a bottle of liquor in the car with him. Keep pretending he was drinking the night before and stayed drunk all night. It doesn’t change the fact he was drinking that morning and most likely has a drinking problem. This isn’t his first time of driving drunk either I can assure you. He has most likely been treating patients while drunk. There is no excuse for his behavior so stop trying to use his illness as an excuse for him.

      • Clay St Resident

        I cannot believe that you are even trying to blame the victim here. She had every right to run on the road. He swerved over into the wrong lane. What would you say if he had hit another car head on instead? Would you try to blame them to or just her because you don’t feel like she deserved to be there?

      • Ashley

        This is a terribly sad situation for all those involved, and my heart goes out to both families.

        It is disappointing, though, that so many people attacked Believer for simply questioning the safety of the road that Meg chose to run on. Believer only asked a question, and made no judgment. Yet, they were met with such harsh criticism, likely from total strangers.

        I hope that anyone who commented on Believer’s post will re-read it. If you open your mind even a little, you will recognize that this is a sympathetic person pointing out that the safety of the particular road is in question.

      • Carmen Borden

        hold the heII on. you are not only making up excuses for the p.o.s. but, you have the audacity to blame the victim for her own death, because she was doing something she enjoyed? not only did this p.o.s. drive drunk and kill her, he was going to work intoxicated as a dr. no less to give care to people who are in need of competent advice and diagnosis. what a joke you and this guy is. there are a lot of people that are sick and depressed because of their illness and don’t go out committing crimes. he committed a crime and i don’t feel a bit sorry for him. but, i do feel for her family.

      • Carmen Borden

        also, this was not at 8:30 p.m. or later, when its likely too dark to notice her taking a run. this was early in the morning, what a safer time for a female to be running as opposed to running in the late night hours on a weekend. who would expect some drunk idiot on the road at that hour. i hope he goes to prison for a very long time. at least he’ll be able to receive all the free health care he’ll need.

  • hg

    To Believer- How DARE you place blame on the mother!!! I can’t even believe that crossed your mind to type that. The Dr had to know he wasn’t able to drive if he blew a .11!! No excuses for him! He took a mother an wife from her children, husband, friends, and other family for a poor decision on his behalf!! I hope the judicial system makes an example out of him!!! PRAYERS to all that knew her and mostly to he children, husband, and family!

    • Sam


      I am not making excuses for him drinking and driving. However, the prescription drugs found in his car (predisone and Levitra) are medications that many people take every day. Perhaps you should look them up and find out why they are used before stating “and with the inclusion of drugs is even worse.”

  • Stqvy Fayette

    To Believer: I believe you’re stupid and your comment proves it! I won’t say anything else to you because you can’t fix stupid! On to Doctor “Death” Carlson, it is obvious your children know what you have done and are in hiding due to the embrassment you have caused with your lack of common sense as well as reliving the DEATH of their OWN mother! You are a real prize, anyone engaged to you should have their head examed! I hope your children are taken away from you, you are put UNDER the jail, you loose your medical license and right to practice medicine as you have CLEARLY shown you do NOT have the proper judgement required for the job. Say good bye to that 20 million, your house and much, much more! Your only hope is the cancer takes you quickly!

  • Robo

    This is a very sad situation, especially for the children of both families.
    It is just another example of the tragic results of alcohol and driving. I suspect there are a number of readers that have also driven after a beer or 2…and they made it home w/o any problems. However, it is that one time that something like this will happen.
    Take a taxi or call a friend!

  • Ann Wilson

    We need safe places for our joggers. So sorry for all the children involved. God bless and let’s built a good jogging path in Meg’s memory.

    • runnergirl

      I agree Ann Wilson. We need safe places for runners/bikers/walkers. It is absolutely not Meg’s fault that this horrific thing happened, but where I live in Hanover, roads are curvy and drunk or not, being distracted in ANY way when driving can cause this to happen. I am sure not everyone drinks and drive, but I’m sure everyone has been distracted while driving. This does happen and it isn’t always b/c the driver was drunk. Cars are big and have blind spots. That said, no one feels sorry for him for choosing to drink and drive. He will have to live with that choice and result. But we just need to pray for all those affected by this horrific tragedy and learn from it. Stay alert/safe when driving and stay/alert safe when walking/biking/running. Its NEVER a bad thing to remind people of and I am an avid runner myself so I take no offense to someone taking the time and care to remind me to be safe.

      Its a shame that Richmond doesn’t have paved, off road, safe places for runners/bikers/walkers to go, especially for training for long distances. Not everyone can afford a gym, but they should be able to get fresh air and feel safe about it. You can be the most alert, seasoned runner and this can still happen…busy road or not. Its tragic from every angle and there are 2 sets of families/kids affected by this. They all need prayers…not judgement from us.

      • Clay St Resident

        RunnerGirl- Richmond does have those things- the bike path in the east end, canal walk, the strip down Monument Ave but to expect safe roads EVERY WHERE in the city is absurd. The blame for this accident does not fall on the shoulders of city officials (especially since it didn’t even happen in the city!). The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of this doctor who should have known better. Shame on him.

  • Lee

    The roads are made for driving vehicles, not for runners or bicycles. While I am sorry this happened, the Commonwealth of Virginia needs to pass laws that make running or bicycling on the road illegal. It is way to dangerous out there as it is!

    • Debbie

      The roads are made for all vessels of transportation. the problem lies witht eh drivers that are too impatient to wait for oncoming traffic to pass, before going around a runner or cyclist. Certain roads, that have no shoulder or have very sharp curve should maybe not be used for anything other than cars. Peopla have brains 7 shold be able to use their own judgement on whether a road is safe to run on. And I am sorry, but anyone drinking at 8AM has a problem.

    • Clay St Resident

      Seriously? The roads are for ALL modes of transportation. We all pay taxes. We all have a right to them. There isn’t a single state in the country that bans “other” uses for roads. Get use to it- we all have a right to them.

    • Misty

      Spoken like a true non-runner/runner hater. My guess is you’re overweight and bitter to those of us who do get off the couch. Try to deny it. I would be ashamed of my fat self, too.

  • OERuby

    Sure, Lee, blame the runners and the cyclists. Not the drunk driver. Brilliant. The law says you have to share the road, and yield to pedestrians (which includes runners). BTW, it IS illegal to drive with a .11 BAC – so what do you think caused this tragedy?

  • lovecross

    let the courts handle it from now on. nothing any of us say at this point is going to change anything. he’ll get his due process and proper punishment according to the law. as for all of the idiotic comments, yes i understand this is a very emotional situation, but if you can’t express sympathy for all of the families who are affected by this devastating tragedy, please just keep your mouth shut.

  • gary

    I at one time was an avid runner. I also have been hit by an automobile while running. There are many hazards with this activity and usually you come home without incident, but there are dangers and not all of them involve cars. Cyclists for one are a hazard with runners since BOTH groups believe they have the ultimate right of way on a road. Potholes, gravel, angle of the sun, animals, wet roads, daydreaming, running with headphones and drivers not paying attention are all hazards runners face everytime they hit the road.

    I am not going to pass judgement on the incident since I was not there, but the end result is very sad. Runners please wear very bright clothing and don’t dress for style. Run in a group if possible since you are easier to see than a single runner. And never forget to keep your “head on a swivel” and always anticipate every car you see is going to hit you. Run defensively. Remember even though you maybe right, you will always lose to a car.

    • lovecross

      excellent advice. i still run 5 days a week. i am fortunate to run on a very unpopulated back road. sure the road is narrow, but the amount of traffic is so negligible that when a car does come, i gladly hop off the pavement and into the shoulder. as to whether or not a doctor should ‘know better’ than to drive to work drunk…well, what if it were a 16 girl who was texting while driving who hit the runner? would that make it any worse/better? in any case, this man made a mistake. a huge mistake. but the fact that the woman died is absolutely tragic. if she had survived then i would assume that most of the trash talk about the doctor would be spared.

      • Walter Bridges

        I drove 54 for ten years between Ashland and 301, and the three deaths I remember all happened on that curve (all victims were on motorcycles or in single car crashes). It’s a hellish road for runners. Hanover county should work on expanding that road to accommodate a proper shoulder. What is there now isn’t a “shoulder” – it’s two feet of asphalt so if your car breaks down you can keep two wheels on the pavement while the other two are in a ditch. It’s not just unsafe for cyclists and runners, it’s unsafe for anyone who has to stop their car on that curve, whether for an accident, hitting a deer, or any other reason.

        54 is a very high traveled road as a primary connector from 301 to 95 and VDOT should make it safer for everyone.

      • sw

        @lovecross you cannot be serious trying to compare an imature 16 year old teenager texting to a Dr., grown man and father driving drunk. Please use some common sense.

  • Larry

    Having known Dr. Carlson for years, he is a good person who has been involved in a very bad thing. If you knew the kind man we know, you’d know he must be having a very horrific time living with himself right now. The world is not good or bad, black or white. Now his children who already lost their mother to a drunk driver, will now most certainly lose their father. Now a new family will have to go through what he did. Nobody is saying that this is the victim’s fault. We should stop the hate talk and focusing on finding ways to help these poor families.

    • Paula Kennedy

      If this Doctor was such and good and kind man, he should know the dangers of drinking and driving especially when his wife was killed by this very same thing. I am at a loss for sympathy for him. I pray for his children and for the victim and her family but this man made a decision that will forever change a families life.

      • Jen

        Sometimes very good people make poor choices. Choices that have disastrous consequences. You can be angry with him sure, but the man is a sad person. His youngest daughter, now 12, was just a toddler when his wife killed. He struggled to raise 3 kids while fighting cancer.
        But at the end of the day, his being a sympathetic characters doesn’t matter in the fact that nothing will bring back the young mother. Just so sad.

      • gary

        People make poor decisions everyday. It is easy to pass judgement on someone when alcohol is involved and to say they are reckless and their actions are inexcusable. However there is one action WE ARE ALL GUILTY of and is every bit of reckless and inexcusable as a DUI. What is it? Racing the Red light at an intersection. The result of this action can be just as deadly. Think about it.

  • Daniel Beasley

    There are two big prob.s with the accident in which a Dr. DUI, hit and killed a young, mother while she was running/jogging. True, the Dr. should never been on the rd. in the condition he was in, and in my opinion, VDOT , who has most of the roads around the area, should never have made most of these roads bike or jogging trails, they are just to small. I would like to hear their response to this situation.

  • Lee

    Sheeples….I feel sorry for the mother and the family, and the doctor…..but get your facts straight….11 is by Va law considered……driving under the influence…not drunk driving……driving while intoxicated is .15 and above……so, if
    any of you have EVER consumed 1or 2 alcoholic beverages…and drove afterwards, you have done the same thing as the doc…..drove under the influence of alcohol….

    • C Copeland

      Ummm. One or two drinks at 8 a.m. on my way to work? Not. Dude had a problem that caught up to him. Tragically. He’d probably been petted and patted over for this problem by his colleagues for some time. “Bless his heart. Think of all he’s been through. Can’t blame him for his alcohol issues.” Prednisone for cancer and Levitra to bang somebody. Seriously. One of you people who thought he was such a great person and clinician (gag me) should have confronted him with his problem.

  • jackburton77

    The Dr. is going to get burned for driving with alcohol in his system but there’s another issue here.

    This is becoming very similar to the Lanie Krusziewski incident.

    When are cyclist and runners going to stop demanding their equal and fair treatment on all roadways and make safety paramount?

  • Ann Wilson

    I would like to know if this is the first time Carolson was drunk at work or has this happened before as his colleagues should have noticed it immediately if it has. If so, why didn’t they offer help for him or why was he still employed? Meg was beautiful and God Bless her family and the children of Dr. CaIrlson are hurting too. Two families were devastated!

  • Walter Bridges

    This entire situation is tragic all around. Dr. Carlson has been my primary care physician for years. You couldn’t ask for a better doctor. But a .11 at 8 the next morning is indicative of a drinking problem – you don’t stay that drunk overnight unless you were really drunk the night before. I’ve been married to a drunk for 20 years and I never had an appointment where he smelled drunk, but maybe he’s good at hiding it. Non-drunks don’t usually keep bottles of beer in their car.

    I am not devastated for him, but I am devastated for both families.

  • paul Odene

    As a former triathlete and a professional tennis player I think the mother is an idiot for running on the road! I never ran on the road and I still run on trails. Roads are for cars not old lady runners like her. I always spit on runners when I go by.

    • sw

      Wow feel proud now Paul. Spitting is assault and the ugliest form of it. Only a piece of trash would ever spit on someone.

    • Nik

      Yeah “Paul”, no one really believes you were an athlete. No real runner would ever treat another like that, no real runner has “never run on a road”. But it’s cute you want to pretend. And a professional tennis player even. Sorry you weren’t good.

  • marvin

    I also wonder why people run on busy roads in the morning. Just crazy. People take a chance doing that. People have been hit by people who haven’t been drinking. Think about that. Now I welcome all comments stating how dare i blame the victim.

  • sw

    I’m really tired of the people who are so willing to defend a drunk driver. I don’t care if he was your doctor for 20 years. He not only ruined that family but he has again hurt his children. Lucky for his children though they will still be able to see him and hear him. The Menzies children are not that lucky. They will never see or talk to their mother again. Mr Menzies will never hold his wife again. How sad for this family because a doctor no doubt made a conscience choice to drink and drive. As to the ones blaming this woman for her own death you are pathetic. All I have to say for all that want to excuse this doctors behavior is Karma is a B**ch.

  • terry

    Its very sad what has happened to this woman and no this doctor should not have been drunk but let me ask you all this .Have you ever drank with alcohol in your system ?I bet most of you have so stop being hypocrites here in regards to this Doctor.He made a tragic mistake and unfortunitly a life was lost but before you keep trash talking him look at yourself. Have you ever driven with alcohol in your system.Also how many of you text when driving I be willing to bet most of you do and look at the accident statistic with doing that.Pray for the families rather than being the hypocrites most of you are.

  • VirginiaBrokeMyHeart

    There are some very cruel comments coming from both “sides”. The loss of a life and all the tradgedy placed upon these families isn’t the only sad thing I am witness to here. (Not surprisingly, mostly from those that offer empty “prayers”.) Shameful.

  • Olivia

    Seriously- he blew a .11- that indicates to me that he had just been drinking. But I certainly feel for him. A man who lost his wife and now had cancer- he’s had it rough. Sounds like there is a lot going on with him. It sounds like a good man who is going to feel absolutely terrible for killing this woman for the rest of his life. Whatever depression he is suffering, he is bound to dig himself a deeper hole. Let’s all pray for him AND for the family of this sweet woman who did not deserve this.

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