It was a horrific story that many in the Bronx may well remember: a 67-year-old woman who was walking across the street at Kingsbridge Avenue in the Bronx was struck and killed by a fast moving vehicle. The man who allegedly hit her was a 22-year veteran of the New York Police Department and was driving a city-owned car. The former detective had apparently been out with friends after work and was just returning home when the accident happened.
Not only should police detectives not be speeding, but they should also never drive drunk. The 45-year-old officer in this story, however, stands accused of driving with a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.21, which is already nearly three times the legal limit. After three years, the family of this woman is finally seeing the former police detective criminally tried for vehicular homicide, drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter, among other charges.
When officers from the 50th Precinct responded to the accident, they found the woman lying in the street and it was quite clear that she was seriously injured. The detective accused of drunk driving was obviously intoxicated. In a pretrial hearing, the responding officer said that the driver smelled of alcohol, had trouble talking and his eyes were bloodshot. Moreover, he had trouble standing. The officer refused a breath test and it took five hours for investigating officers to get a court order for a blood test. At that point, the detective still registered a 0.21 blood-alcohol level.
It is the responsibility of police officers to uphold the law, and that is why it is so disturbing when they break it. There is a reason why drunk driving is illegal and this story shows why — had this detective been sober, it is highly unlikely that he would have hit and fatally injured a woman crossing the street. But, under the influence, even the most responsible of drivers lose their abilities to drive safely.
Source: New York Daily News, “Ex-cop on trial for alleged drunk-driving killing of Bronx grandma,” Daniel Beekman, Sept. 25, 2012
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