MANHATTAN (CN) – An off-duty NYPD sergeant drunkenly mowed down a 68-year-old man while trying to speed through an intersection to “beat the light,” the District Attorney’s Office said. Joseph Spiekerman, 43, stopped to help the victim but refused to take a breath test when working officers arrived, prosecutors said.
The 15-year police veteran was charged with assault and vehicular assault.
The victim, Barry Gintel, underwent surgery for two fractured legs, broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, and head and neck injuries. Four months after the accident, he’s still in a rehabilitation hospital and confined to a wheelchair, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said in a statement.
The District Attorney’s Office said Spiekerman left an Upper East Side bar at 6:30 a.m. after drinking, which began after his 4 to midnight shift. While driving uptown, he accelerated to beat the light at 86th Street and struck Gintel head-on while he crossed the street. Gintel was on his way home after buying his morning coffee. The sergeant made no attempt to avoid him, thought the light had turned red well before he entered the intersection, prosecutors said.
After Spiekerman refused to take a breathalyzer, police got a court order to obtain a blood sample, which they took 6 hours after the accident. Spiekerman blood alcohol level then was .11. Prosecutors estimate it was .18 at the time of the incident.
Legally drunk in New York State is .08.
Spiekerman was assigned to the housing bureau in the Bronx. He has been suspended without pay. If convicted of all charges against him, he faces up to 7 years in prison.