Charges Upgraded for Cop in Fatal Bronx DUI

Spellman had refused to take Breathalyzer test at the scene

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009  |  Updated 3:24 PM EDT
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Charges Upgraded for Cop in Fatal Bronx DUI

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Charges have been upgraded against an off-duty NYPD detective accused of running down a Bronx grandmother last month.
    
Kevin Spellman, who's 42, was indicted Wednesday on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated in the death of Drane Nikac.
    
Spellman faces up to 25 years in prison. The charges were elevated from vehicular manslaughter after his blood alcohol level was determined to be .21 -- more than twice the legal limit of .08.

Spellman had refused to take a Breathalyzer test at the scene and did so again back at the station house later on, forcing investigators to get a court order for a blood test.

More than five hours after the tragic crash, authorities performed the blood test on Spellman and discovered the startling result.
 
Since alcohol dissipates in the body over time, Spellman would have been much drunker at the time of the accident, officials indicated.
    
He is accused of hitting Nikac, 70, as she crossed a street in Kingsbridge around 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 30.
    
Spellman has been with the NYPD for 22 years. He's been suspended and is free on bond.
    
A call to his attorney was not immediately returned.

The tragedy was the second fatal car accident in five weeks involving an allegedly drunken off-duty cop. As a result, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he has impaneled a commission to speed up testing of suspected drunken drivers.  In both cases, both officers refused to be tested for hours.

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