A man who was allegedly drunk when he struck a 12-year-old girl in South Boston over the weekend faced a judge Monday.
Richard Higgins, 78, of Attleboro, was ordered to be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on multiple charges, including operating under the influence and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Neighbors said that Higgins was pin balling — hitting parked cars on the side of Old Colony Road — shortly before striking Shalynn Bobbitt with his Ford Explorer.
Higgins did not immediately stop after the incident. Police initially said this was his third arrest on OUI charges; however, police said Monday that this is his fifth OUI arrest.
Higgins' attorney disputes that, saying two of those OUI charges date back to the 60s and were against Higgins' brother, not his client.
According to prosecutors, Higgins was seen by witnesses driving approximately 60 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone when he lost control of his SUV and struck a parked vehicle. The impact of the crash caused the front axle of Higgins’ vehicle to break and the front right wheel to strike another parked vehicle. He then struck a third vehicle and accelerated, allegedly striking Shalynn in a crosswalk.
Prosecutors said after striking the young girl, Higgins' SUV continued traveling another 50 feet before it struck a fourth vehicle. The vehicle finally came to a stop approximately 500 yards away.
When police arrived on scene, prosecutors said officers detected an odor of alcohol and Higgins appeared to be unsteady and he had glassy, bloodshot eyes. He also allegedly made references to consuming alcohol and Vicodin earlier in the day.
Shalynn’s mother, Kelly Bobbitt, said her daughter is at Tufts Medical Center in serious condition with a lacerated liver and many cuts on her legs and head. She was scheduled to have surgery Monday.
Higgins' next court date is Aug. 10.