An off-duty New York City police detective smelled of alcohol when he was arrested for running down a pedestrian, law enforcement officials said today.
Detective Kevin Spellman, 42, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, criminal negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter, authorities said.
Spellman was driving around 6:30 a.m. Friday along a street in the Bronx when he struck and killed an older woman walking on the
street. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. The victim has been identified as 67-year-old Drana Nikac.
It's not clear where Spellman was going at the time of the accident. He had gotten off work at midnight and was due back around 2 p.m. Friday.
Spellman, who was alone in his 2009 Chevy, refused to take a breath test at the scene, which is his legal right, but officers smelled alcohol on him, the officials said. Spellman was taken into custody and blood was drawn to perform a blood alcohol test, the results of which are expected to be available next week.
Spellman has been with the NYPD 22 years. He was promoted to detective in 1999 and again in 2007, and was on the Bronx fugitive task force working with federal officials. He has been suspended.
A call to his attorney was not immediately returned. Michael Palladino, president of the Detective's Endowment Association, said Spellman was well-respected by his fellow detectives and supervisors.
"This is as tragic for him as it is for the family of the deceased,'' Palladino said.
The accident comes about a month after another off-duty officer ran down a minister's daughter on a rainy night in Brooklyn. Responders may have smelled alcohol on his breath, but he refused to take a Breathalyzer test and by the time a judge issued a court order to have his blood drawn at a local hospital, it was eight hours after the incident. The officer, Andrew Kelly, was indicted two weeks ago on vehicular manslaughter, speeding and DWI charges in the death of the pastor's daughter.
Vionique Valnord was killed as she tried to hail a cab after a wedding reception Sept. 26.
Kelly's attorney Arthur Aidala said his client he took a blood alcohol test that showed he had no alcohol in his system. The test was administered seven hours after the incident. Officers who responded to the scene noticed alcohol on his breath, but Kelly refused to take a breath test.
Kelly has been suspended from the NYPD, and two other officers were also suspended in the incident.