Reports: Drunk Off-Duty NYPD Officer Kills Pedestrian in Staten Island

Update: The victim of this crash was identified as William Hemphill, 51.

A pedestrian was killed by an intoxicated off-duty NYPD officer in Staten Island this morning, according to reports.

The crash happened on Richmond Terrace near Simonson and Lake Avenues at around 6:15 a.m., when the male victim was hit by the driver of a Ford SUV. The Daily News says the man was crossing Simonson when he was struck.

NY1 reports that the 29-year-old driver is an officer with the 121st Precinct, where the crash occurred.

Sources say the victim landed on the car and the officer just kept driving.

He then allegedly fled the scene but returned about a half an hour later.

Officials tell NY1 the officer has been with the department since 2005 and finished his shift Thursday around 6 p.m.

The victim, whose age is being reported as 51 and 59, was taken to Richmond University Medical Center in cardiac arrest and died soon after, reports said.

WABC says the officer was charged with drunk driving.

The NYPD public information office had no details as of this writing.

Drunk driving by off-duty NYPD personnel is a chronic and deadly problem, with officers killing themselves and innocent bystanders. Four years ago this month, NYPD detective Kevin Spellman hit 70-year-old Bronx pedestrian Drane Nikac in the Bronx. Weeks earlier, off-duty cop Andrew Kelly fatally struck Vionique Valnord in Brooklyn. In February 2010, three off-duty officers were arrested for driving under the influence over a span of 11 days, one of them having flipped a car on a Midtown sidewalk. The list of similar incidents is seemingly endless.

When an off-duty homicide detective killed himself by slamming into a garbage truck on the BQE in 2009, union reps called for NYPD to change the way it handles detectives’ shift assignments in hopes of reducing drinking and driving during off-hours.

We will follow this case as it develops.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, changing shift assignments will reduce off-duty drinking. Just horrible. I don’t expect more than the usual lack of NYPD accountability.

  • Michelle

    I think he should be held accountable…. not the NYPD. It was that officers fault not the entire police force.

  • O

    “Returning half an hour later” still makes it a hit and run and he should be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, as well. I doubt NYPD will tack on extra charges though. New York’s Finest my a*s.

  • 1

    He is losing his job no matter what and he is going to jail because the guy died. On top of that he refused a breath test so he’s screwed. They aren’t gonna give him a break.

  • Guest

    It’s not an isolated case, “just a bad apple,” when it keeps happening over and over again.

    The NYPD has a very serious problem, and it is largely rooted in the cultural of lawlessness and general lack of accountability within the department.

  • Facts Please

    There are more than 34,000 uniformed cops on duty. If there was a news story about one of them committing some stupid act every single day, you would still be talking about 1 percent of the force, and the actual number is way below one a day.
    What this guy did is terrible, but it has nothing to do with the rest of the department.

  • Bolwerk

    You’re right. Violence against minorities and political dissidents reflects much more badly on the department than this.

  • Guest

    – Many incidents do not get covered in the news.
    – Many incidents are still excused entirely with “professional courtesy” unless somebody gets hurt or too many witnesses

    How pervasive do you believe a problem needs to be before it is addressed?

    There is a clear pattern of abusive behavior by the NYPD (extremes like drunk driving and rapes, and somewhat more minor but still hazardous illegal activities like blocking bike lanes unnecessarily out of laziness or malice, macing defenseless protesters, deliberately interfering with the press, and gratuitously groping and roughing up minority kids…).

    Do most officers personally engage in illegal activities and generally abuse the citizenry? No. Does it happen with an empowered minority of the officers far too often? Certainly yes. Should it be allowed to continue unchecked, as it has for far too many years? Absolutely not!

    The truth of the matter is that the NYPD has developed a “no snitching” culture that is identical to that of violent drug-dealing criminals. The reluctance of NYPD officers to take appropriate action when they see illegal behavior by their fellow officers directly contributes to these cases by creating an environment where criminal officers feel empowered. And that has everything to do with the rest of the department.


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