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Watertown man faces drunken driving charges

Joseph Benilian, 23, faces a charge of operating under the influence.

Joseph Benilian, 23, faces a charge of operating under the influence.

A 23-year-old Watertown man, out to watch Red Sox celebrations Wednesday night, is accused of striking two cyclists while driving drunk in Allston and then fleeing the scene, prosecutors said.

Joseph Besnilian had a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf in Brighton Municipal Court to charges of operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

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Besnilian was ordered to wear a GPS monitor, refrain from driving, stay alcohol- and drug-free, and abide by a curfew, Conley’s office said in an announcement on the case. Besnilian was released on personal recognizance and is slated to return to court Dec. 12 for a pretrial hearing, Conley’s office said.

The charges involve an accident that happened at about 12:40 a.m. Thursday, when Besnilian’s Volkswagen Jetta allegedly hit the cyclists in the area of Lincoln and Franklin streets, the statement said.

The victims were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. A 25-year-old Watertown woman suffered injuries to her legs, and a 26-year-old man from Tyngsborough suffered head and facial injuries, Conley’s office said.

Besnilian allegedly fled the scene and was stopped on North Beacon Street when a police officer noticed heavy damage to his car, the district attorney’s office said.

When the officer asked Besnilian what happened, he responded, “You tell me,” and insisted he had not hit anything. Police reportedly noticed blood sprayed on the passenger’s side of the Jetta, and the side mirror was missing, according to Conley’s office.

Besnilian was wearing a wristband often provided at night clubs, smelled of alcohol, and had expanded pupils, the police officer said.

A 24-year-old Watertown man who was a passenger in Besnilian’s vehicle allegedly told police the two were drinking and “smoking weed” before going to a club in Cambridge. The passenger said they had left the club to take a drive to “check out the area” after Boston’s World Series victory, the statement said.

Besnilian has no prior drunken driving arrests, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

His license was suspended for 180 days for refusing to take a chemical breath test in connection with the Allston incident, the Registry said.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com.
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