Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

NYPD Officer Charged with DWI After Killing Staten Island Pedestrian: Cops

The off-duty officer struck a man as he crossed the street in Mariners Harbor, police said

Monday, Oct 7, 2013  |  Updated 11:16 AM EDT
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NYPD Officer Charged with DWI

Bruce Hempill, seen in this inset image, was struck and killed shortly after he picked up some food at this deli on Richmond Terrace on Staten Island. An NYPD officer was charged with DWI.

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An off-duty NYPD officer was arrested and charged with DWI and vehicular manslaughter after striking and killing a pedestrian on Staten Island early Friday morning, police said.

Officer Joseph McClean struck Bruce Hempill, 51, of Maryland, as he was crossing Richmond Terrace near Simonson Avenue in the Mariners Harbor section of the island at 6:17 a.m., police said.

The owner of a deli where Hempill bought some food before crossing Richmond Terrace described what he witnessed:

"I hear some big sound and I look out the window and I see his hard hat, because he had hard hat on him, flying," Ala Kalbouneh told NBC 4 New York. "I come outside and I see him like a block away laying down on the street."

Kalbouneh said he saw the car that struck Hempill "flying around 70 or 80 mph."  The car sped away from the scene, Kalbouneh said, and returned about five or 10 minutes later.

Police responding to the scene said that McClean's 2010 Ford had serious front-end damage and that he told officers that he struck the man.  According to court papers, the responding officer reported that McClean had "an odor of alcohol, a flushed face, watery eyes and slurred speech."
  
Hempill was crossing Richmond Terrace to report to work at the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company just across the street.  The Maryland man usually spent two weeks working in Staten Island and one week back at home with his wife, coworkers said.

McClean, 29, was arraigned in Staten Island Criminal Court, where bail was set at $50,000.  He is expected back in court on Oct. 9.  Information on his attorney was not immediately available.

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