2009-10-01 / Other News

Police Officer Charged With DWI In Mill Basin Death

By Charles Rogers

Yellow, crumpled emergency tape indicates spot across from American Legion Hall where 32-year-old woman was struck early Sunday. C. Rogers      Yellow, crumpled emergency tape indicates spot across from American Legion Hall where 32-year-old woman was struck early Sunday. C. Rogers The daughter of the pastor of a church on Rogers Avenue was struck and killed on Avenue N near East 56th Street in Mill Basin early Sunday by a car driven by an off-duty police officer who was accused of driving while intoxicate (DWI), police said. Police Officer Andrew Kelly, a seven year veteran of the NYPD who works out of the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge, was also charged with vehicular homicide during his arraignment Sunday night.

The victim, Vionique Valnord, 32, of Crown Heights, had just left the Floyd Bennett Post American Legion Hall where a wedding reception for two of her father’s parishioners took place after her father officiated at their wedding.

She was standing on Avenue N and hailing a cab to take her home at about 1 a.m. when Kelly’s SUV struck and killed her.

The officer stopped his vehicle, a 2006 Jeep Cherokee, and several passengers who had been riding with him — including another police officer — left the scene of the accident as Kelly ran to the victim and, witnesses said, started to give her CPR. Police from the 63rd Precinct, who were summoned by witnesses, called for more emergency backup and Ms. Valnord was taken to Kings County Hospital where she died. Hospital officials said she had suffered a fractured leg, fractured pelvis and blunt trauma, which led to her death, police said.

Sources at Kelly’s arraignment said that, at the time of the accident, they were told he “exhibited signs of intoxication, to wit: slurred speech, red, watery eyes” and “the odor of alcohol was inside the Jeep.”

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly held a news conference concerning the case on Sunday morning and noted the other off-duty police officer who was in the car with Officer Kelly, assigned to the 70th Precinct, had turned up for work Sunday morning and reported his involvement in the accident. He is currently being questioned and, according to published reports, has been suspended from duty.

Meanwhile, after the arraignment, Kelly was released on $200,000 bond, which was eventually lowered to $100,000, according to a spokesman for Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes.

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