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Pedestrian dies after being hit by suspected DUI driver in Petaluma

A 41-year-old Cotati man was arrested on suspicion of killing a pedestrian Tuesday night in Petaluma when officers believe he crashed near a roundabout and struck a man on the sidewalk.

The name of the victim, a 53-year-old man, was unavailable Wednesday.

James T. Watkins was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter, Petaluma police said.

Police determined Watkins was driving south on South McDowell Boulevard near Baywood Drive in the eastern part of the city when he drove onto the sidewalk just before the roundabout.

When police arrived, two off-duty law enforcement officers and an off-duty nurse were giving medical care to the pedestrian. Petaluma Fire Department personnel transported the victim to Petaluma Valley Hospital, where he died.

Officers found Watkins in his 2011 white Toyota Prius in the center of the roundabout. He wasn’t injured, police said, but was taken to a local hospital for DUI testing.

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

Witnesses were asked to contact traffic Officer Mike Pierre at 707-781-1208.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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