A terrible tragedy shook the family of Brooklyn Pastor Varius Valnord and the New York area, after an off-duty New York Police Department (NYPD) officer ran over the Pastor’s daughter who was hailing a cab in the early hours of Sunday, September 27, 2009. The New York Daily News reported the shocking weekend events that led to the death of Vionique Valnord, a 33 year-old Brooklyn woman. Valnord was hailing a cab after attending a friend’s wedding on Avenue N and E. 56th Street in Old Mill Basin when a blue Jeep Grand Cherokee driven and owned by off-duty NYPD officer, Andrew Kelly, fatally hit her.
According to NYPD investigators and news reports, Officer Kelly was driving with three other passengers in his SUV when he struck Valnord. The other three passengers identities have not been released but one of them was also an off-duty police officer with the NYPD. Witnesses reported Kelly attempted to give the young woman cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before emergency medical services (EMS) crews arrived and transported her to Kings County Hospital. Valnord was pronounced dead from the traumatic injuries she suffered in the pedestrian versus SUV accident.
New York City prosecuting attorneys filed vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges against Kelly, a 30 year-old, seven year veteran with the NYPD. Officer Kelly is assigned to the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge. New York City automobile accident investigators found open containers of alcohol in Kelly’s Jeep after the crash, and the off-duty officer refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test at the SUV accident scene. NYPD investigators acquired a warrant from a judge for Kelly’s blood. Kelly has been released on a $200,000 bond after being arraigned on the current charges before the judge. Typically, drivers operating motor vehicles in most states, including New York, found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs are presumed to be negligent in drunk driving accidents.
New York personal injury attorney, J.C. Reiter, an experienced automobile accident lawyer, says people who drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs put all other drivers’ and passengers’ lives at risk. Families are left with an irreplaceable loss at the hands of someone else’s complete disregard for the safety of others. When someone is killed because of a driver’s reckless and negligent actions, the driver can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by the automobile accident. Families may be able to recover compensation for emotional anguish, medical care, past and future lost wages and possibly punitive damages, which are aimed to punish and deter this type of reckless conduct. A consultation with a qualified New York personal injury attorney can answer your questions, review your case, and protect your legal rights.
New York DWI crash information by New York personal injury attorney, Jonathan C. Reiter.
Phone 1-212-736-0979 www.jcreiterlaw.com