A 15-year NYPD cop has been charged with drunken driving after he mowed down a man who had just picked up his morning cup 'o joe, but the department waited more than a week after the accident to tell anyone about it.
Sgt. Joseph Spiekerman, 43, found himself on the other side of the law after he ran a red light at York Ave. and E. 86th Street on the Upper East Side and plowed into 68-year-old Barry Gintel on June 29, according to court documents.
Gintel, vice president of the Fire Bell Club of New York, a group of fire department buffs, was hurried to the hospital, where he underwent surgery for a ruptured spleen, two broken legs, fractured ribs and head and neck injuries, reports the Daily News.
Confined to his hospital bed and wearing a neck brace, Gintel had no comment for reporters, but the president of his organization told the paper that his friend doesn't remember too much about the crash and all he wants to do is get out of bed.
The accident happened more than a week ago, which begs the question of why details of the incident and arrest are only being released now.
The crash happened just before 7 a.m. near the Mansion diner; Gintel had just purchased a big cup of coffee and a few buttered rolls when he was hit. The cashier who had attended to him witnessed the entire thing.
"I give him his change, look out the window, and I see he got hit and goes flying 10, maybe 20 feet in the air," Leticia Guerrero told the News.
The 24-year-old said the force of the collision shattered the windshield of Spiekerman's car, and that the cop got out of his vehicle to try to help the fallen man.
Cops responding to the call noticed Spiekerman's eyes were bloodshot and his breath reeked of alcohol. They arrested the veteran officer, who fessed up to drinking, and charged him with driving while intoxicated and felony vehicular assault. Spiekerman refused to take a breathalyzer test at the scene, according to the News, forcing cops to obtain a court order to take blood.
A lawyer for the sergeant's police union says an investigation into the crash is underway. Meanwhile, Spiekerman has been suspended without pay. He's assigned to the PSA 7 housing precinct in the Bronx.