Amid allegations that his fellow cops helped "cover-up" his intoxication after fatally running over Vionique Valnord Saturday night, the lawyer for officer Andrew Kelly fiercely defended his client, who scored a perfect zero on his blood alcohol test, administered eight hours after the accident. Attorney Arthur Aidala told the Daily News, "To be crystal-clear, Andrew wasn't drunk. Andrew wasn't surprised by his blood-alcohol level. He knows what he did that day. He tried to save that woman. He got her breathing, and at one point, she opened her eyes. He's just sad that she's not breathing today."
Asked about rumors that cops at the scene gave Kelly gum for his breath and water to help him flush out the booze, Aidala told the Times, "There's an allegation that someone gave him water? Anyone who knows anything about blood-alcohol levels knows that unless you drink five or six gallons of water, having a half bottle of Poland Spring is not gong to do anything for blood-alcohol level." The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is conducting an investigation into the first responders.
The News is also reporting that when a warrant for the blood test was finally faxed to the 78th Precinct, it took almost an hour for police to leave the station house with Kelly. Valnord's family was outraged yesterday to learn of Kelly's score on the blood test, and her inconsolable mother blasted the other passengers in Kelly's SUV (one of them an off-duty cop) who left the scene: "They left here like she was garbage. These men were supposed to help and they all ran away like cowards." As for Kelly, Valnord's mother said, "I want Andrew to go to jail forever. All the blood from my daughter is on Andrew Kelly's hands, and he needs to get ready for Judgment Day."
Thanks to Vasean's Law, named for an 11-year-old boy who was killed by a drunken driver five years ago, Kelly is facing an automatic felony charge. Vasean's mother tells the News, "The man that killed my son spent just 38 days in jail. At least this man is facing three to seven years thanks to Vasean's Law. It's still not equal to taking a life, but at least it's a felony now." But David Hanson, a SUNY Potsdam professor who specializes in alcohol studies, tells the Post, "I just think the prosecution has a very, very weak case here."