Yesterday a grand jury voted to indict NYPD Officer Andrew Kelly on charges of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated in an accident last month that killed a woman who was trying to hail a cab. If convicted, Kelly faces up to seven years in prison. Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes says that Kelly, 30, will also face trial on other charges, including speeding.
Kelly's lawyer, Arthur Aidala, told the Times, "I think the Brooklyn district attorney's office, their success rate in obtaining indictments is somewhere in the 90th percentile, so we are not surprised....We believe the district attorney’s office has witness statements in evidence that are going to corroborate Andrew’s version that he was not drunk when he was driving." Aidala also told reporters, "This was a tragic, horrific accident. He was driving on a dark, rainy, foggy night."
The attorney for the family of victim Vionique Valnord countered that he "has confidence in the Brooklyn district attorney's office that justice will be done." He added that, "The family now awaits the investigation of the Internal Affairs Bureau to determine if there was an attempt to cover up."
According to court papers, after fatally hitting Valnord with his SUV, officers found Kelly reeking of booze, with slurred speech and glassy eyes. Two officers besides Kelly have been suspended: a first responder who allegedly gave him water and gum, and another off-duty officer who was in the car with Kelly but left the scene. And according to the Post, a third officer has may also face departmental charges for a delay in getting Kelly to a hospital to check his blood-alcohol level. By the time Kelly took the test seven hours after the accident, he had a blood-alcohol level of zero.