DUI charge for man accused of striking JWU student

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A Cranston man is facing several charges after police said he hit a pedestrian with his vehicle Saturday morning.

According to the Cranston Police Department, reports came in a few minutes before 2 a.m. of a pedestrian struck in the area of 1025 Narragansett Boulevard. Officers found the 25-year-old victim in the road, unconscious and bleeding just steps away from Johnson and Wales University’s Harborside Campus. The vehicle that hit him stopped at the scene.

The victim, whose name is not yet being released, is an international student at the university.

“The victim was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries,” said Sgt. Ryan Shore of the Cranston Police Department. “He’s since been upgraded to fair condition.”

In a statement to Eyewitness News, JWU said:

At this time we will not provide [the] name out of respect for student and family. Our thoughts are focused on his recovery and support for his family and friends.

While speaking with the driver, 45-year-old Eric Churchill of Columbia Avenue in Cranston, police officers suspected that he was intoxicated.

“He submitted to a series of standardized field sobriety tests which he failed. He was taken into custody at that point for suspicion of DUI,” Shore said.

Churchill is being charged with driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury and refusal to submit to a breath test.

According to police, officers obtained a search warrant to draw blood from him in order to determine his Blood Alcohol Content.

Police told Eyewitness News they will continue their investigation to determine if the victim was in a crosswalk and if speed or poor lighting were factors.

Sgt. Shore said there have been similar accidents in the area in the past.

“Just be more aware of your surroundings, keep your eyes on the road and definitely don’t drink and drive,” he said.

According to an Instagram post by a Johnson and Wales alumni account, Churchill graduated from JWU in 1993.

He was arraigned Saturday and released on $20,000 surety bail.

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