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The Boston Globe


Pedestrian hit; off-duty T driver charged

Kathleen Abban, who was charged with operating under the influence, has been an MBTA bus driver since 2003.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Kathleen Abban, who was charged with operating under the influence, has been an MBTA bus driver since 2003.

An off-duty MBTA bus driver was ordered held on $500,000 bail Monday and has been placed on unpaid leave after hitting a 68-year-old man in Dorchester Sunday night while driving with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, prosecutors said.

The victim, who was not identified, was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he remains in intensive care, prosecutors said.

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Kathleen Abban, 39, of Dorchester was charged with operating under the influence as a second offense, operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.

Abban was arraigned in Dorchester District Court on Monday. If she posts bail, she will have to remain alcohol-free and submit to random testing. A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf, prosecutors said. She will return to court Jan. 27.

Abban was driving a private vehicle on Old Colony Avenue near the JFK/UMass Red Line station Monday night when she struck the man, who is from Chinatown, prosecutors said.

A witness at the scene told State Police a black sport utility vehicle traveling at about 35 miles per hour struck the man, sending him “flying into the air.”

The SUV continued driving, slammed into a guardrail, and drove toward the JFK/UMass Station, prosecutors said.

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State Police stopped a vehicle matching that description and brought the driver, identified as Abban, back to the scene. Abban reeked of alcohol and told officers she had had “way too many” drinks at a South Boston bar, prosecutors said.

She failed multiple sobriety tests: She could not recite the alphabet past the letter F, could not stand on one leg, and could not walk in a straight line, prosecutors said. She blew a chemical breath test of 0.25; the legal limit is 0.08, prosecutors said.

Kelly Smith, an MBTA spokeswoman, said Abban has been a T bus driver since 2003 and has been placed on unpaid leave pending an investigation by the agency.

Abban’s commercial driver’s license — which she needs in order to drive an MBTA bus — was revoked by the Registry of Motor vehicles because she failed the breath test after the crash. Her standard driver’s license was also suspended for 30 days for the same reason, said Mike Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Abban was investigated for drunken driving and her license was suspended in 2007 following a 2006 crash in Braintree.

She was later held civilly responsible in the crash, according to Registry records. The case was continued without a finding after she attended and completed a drunk driver’s education course, according to Registry records.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.

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