Off-Duty Cop “Taken Into Custody for DWI” After Bronx Pedestrian Death

bxgrab.jpgImage: WABC

Minutes after posting the latest installment of The Weekly Carnage, we came across the story of another NYPD-involved pedestrian fatality, this time an elderly woman, killed by an off-duty cop this morning in the Bronx. The Daily News reports:

Kevin Spellman, a 22-year department veteran, was taken into custody after the deadly 6:30 a.m. accident at W. 232nd St. and Kingsbridge Ave., police said.

Spellman, 42, was driving south when his 2009 Chevrolet Impala slammed into the unidentified woman. She was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital.

Like Andrew Kelly, the officer who killed Brooklyn pedestrian Vionique Valnord four weeks ago, Spellman reportedly refused a Breathalyzer test. The News says Spellman "was not immediately charged," though NY1 says he was "taken into custody for DWI." WABC says there may have been two victims.

  • Query on point of law: How can anyone refuse a Breathalyzer test? Is the test some prohibited form of search and seizure, even when someone has been taken into custody?

  • JTS

    Query on semantics: how did his Impala slam into her? Wasn’t he driving? It should read “Spellman, 42, was driving south when he slammed into the unidentified woman. She was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital

  • Mark: Following the Andrew Kelly killing, the Advance did a piece on cops and breath tests. The News editorialized on the obstacles to obtaining blood. 

  • Glenn

    I think it is considered and warrantless search. They need a judge to order a bloodtest if the breathlyzer is declined.

    From the position of the car, it looks like he either crested the hill too fast or turned into her in the crosswalk

  • K. Harrington

    Cops are supposed to uphold the law not break it. It seems that this is happening way too often lately. Obviously something needs to be put in place asap to give more severe consequences, they all do it because they know they can say no to the breath test. They should not be above the law. It shows a tremendous lack of respect for the person that died and their family. There is no excuse and should be zero tolerance period, especially if you are cop or fireman, it’s a shame and an embarrassement to the department. Seems to be more apples rotten in the bunch then we thought..

  • t

    More than once is too often, but I’d hesitate to say that this is a common and frequent occurrence in the absence of statistics. There are thousands of police officers and the overwhelming majority of them don’t get into accidents such as this. When this happens, the news covers it and blogs such as this run stories. While this is a tragedy, let’s not allow the amplification power of the Internet to turn this into a referendum on all cops. Let the case be judged on its own merits.

  • Tom Middleton

    Mr. Walker,
    I believe the law is that anyone can refuse a breathalyzer, but if you refuse then they can then suspend your driver’s license regardless of the outcome of any DWI case.

  • I really find it astounding that in a city with the best public transit system in the country that *anyone*, let alone a police officer sworn to uphold the law, would drive while intoxicated. While it is certainly no excuse, in suburban environments much planning must be done beforehand to line up transportation for after one has been drinking, and it’s clear why so many end up driving when they shouldn’t be. But to do so in NYC, where there is a relatively convenient alternative available around the clock? Amazing.

  • they are ONLY supposed to be utilized in the event one is off-duty and they need to respond to an nypd emergency. they are NOT supposed to be used off-duty for pleasure or casual purposes

    Wait, what? You’re supposed to have enough parking for this plus a car for casual purposes. What do you do if you’re at the beach and there’s an NYPD emergency? Drive home and switch to the Impala?

    Even if – contrary to the habits of the vast majority of high-raking city officials – you take transit for pleasure or casual purposes, it’s the same thing: you take the subway home to get the Impala?

    I’m guessing that this is one of those “cover your ass” policies” that they don’t actually expect anyone to follow.

  • bluelines

    Anyone can refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. Blood can be taken pursuant to a warrant. The Chevy Impala he was driving has been chronicled in other news reports about this as having been issued by the U.S. Marshals. Meanwhile, Michael Palladino and this cop should get a room–good Lord, could Palladino have attempted to canonize this guy any more? It’s disgusting.

  • My revision reads this way:
    “”Spellman, 42, failed in his duty to exercise due care while he was operating his motor vehicle on the public street. He guided his automobile into the unidentified woman while traveling south. Tragically, she was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Even When the Killer Driver Is Drunk, Obstacles to Justice Abound

|
After two incidents in two months of off-duty NYPD officers running down and killing pedestrians, then refusing to submit to Breathalyzer tests, police Commissioner Ray Kelly this week convened a panel aimed at expediting the collection of blood evidence from motorists arrested on suspicion of driving drunk. The deaths of Vionique Valnord and Drana Nivac […]

Bill Bratton Is in Denial About NYPD’s Deadly Drunk Driving Problem

|
In the aftermath of another civilian death at the hands of an allegedly intoxicated off-duty officer, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says drunk driving cops are not a problem at NYPD. Nicholas Batka, 28, drove onto the sidewalk at Bedford Avenue and North Eighth Street in Williamsburg at around 3:10 a.m. Saturday, striking Andrew Esquivel and three friends. Esquivel, a […]

The Weekly Carnage

|
The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Bronx community organizer and cyclist Megan Charlop, shown here in 1977, died on Crotona Ave after a driver opened a door in […]

The Weekly Carnage

|
The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (3 killed this week, 127 this year, 9 drivers charged*) Jamaica: Maleka Begum, 54, Hit by Bus Driver in Crosswalk; […]