The defense in a cop's DWI death case is targeting the victim, saying the pastor's daughter was drunk when she ran into traffic in the middle of the night and off-duty officer Andrew Kelly crashed into her with his vehicle, according to published reports.
Kelly was indicted in October for vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and speeding in the death of 32-year-old Vionique Valnord, who he hit as she tried to hail a taxi after leaving a wedding reception in Mill Basin. Kelly, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD, refused to take a Breathalyzer at the scene of the accident and it took authorities about seven hours to get a court order to draw his blood, which revealed no traces of alcohol. But prosecutors say he was drunk.
Meanwhile, the defense is leveraging reports that Valnord's blood alcohol level was over the legal limit at the time of the crash in an effort to make a case that the accident wouldn't have happened if she hadn't run out into the street, which she may have done because she was intoxicated, an attorney says. An autopsy revealed the pastor's daughter had a blood alcohol level of 0.22 – nearly three times the legal limit, reports the Daily News.
"It appears that she was drunk and she wandered into traffic," Kelly's attorney, Arthur Aidala, told the News upon release of the toxicology report yesterday. "Probably her judgment contributed to this accident.
"There was alcohol in her system and witnesses at the wedding said she was clearly, visibly intoxicated," he added. "This goes to solidify the fact that this was just a terrible accident."
Valnord's family is furious at the suggestion that the victim caused her own death, saying she wasn't the one who was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Authorities have said it may be impossible to ever know what Kelly's blood alcohol level was at the time of the crash because he warded off tests for nearly half a day, jeopardizing the accuracy of the results. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in jail.