The former NYPD Detective accused of killing a 66-year-old Bronx woman with his car three years ago allegedly has a history of drunk driving that was partly enabled by his fellow NYPD officers. Kevin Spellman, who retired from the NYPD in May and collects a full pension of $48K annually, is currently facing charges of vehicular homicide in the death of Drane Nikac in October of 2009. Five hours after the incident, Spellman had a BAC of .21. According to The Riverdale Press, Spellman was suspected of drunk driving twice before, in 2004 and in 1997, and in the second case, a police officer refused to submit Spellman to a Breathalyzer test.
In the 1997 incident, Spellman ran a stop sign in Yonkers in broad daylight, hitting a car holding a family of three.
The father asked the police officer at the scene to perform a Breathalyzer test on Mr. Spellman but the cop refused, according to the transcript. The matter was eventually settled in a civil suit, she said.
The second incident was in October of 2004, when an off-duty Spellman drove the wrong direction down a one-way street.
Civilians reported him to police after they said they noticed him staggering into a bodega to buy beer, smelling of alcohol and with bloodshot eyes. Two other police officers had been in the car with Mr. Spellman.
Spellman wasn't arrested, but was charged internally and forced to give up 26 vacation days, take an eight-day unpaid suspension and accept modified duty for 10 months.
The judge in Spellman's case must still decide whether the Bronx DA's office may use the prior incidents in his trial, but the judge has ruled that the prosecution may use beer cans found in Spellman's car and a "spontaneous statement" Spellman made to police immediately after Nikac's death: “I didn’t see that dude. He came out of nowhere. I hit him."
As Streetsblog points out, drunk driving committed by former and current NYPD officers is far too common and often deadly. Lora Juncaj, Nikac's granddaughter, told The Riverdale Press that she hopes Spellman's trial will prevent pedestrian fatalities in the future: The trial is not going to bring back my grandma or take away my pain, but it might prevent this from happening again.”
Spellman's next scheduled court appearance is on October 24.