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Friday, March 14, 2008

Ex-cop gets 1-year sentence in fatal DWI crash

NEWSDAY by Michael Frazier ( - March 14, 2008

The ex-New York City police officer convicted in the 2006 drunk-driving crash killing her fellow officer received a 1-year jail sentence Friday instead of the 6 months promised to her after pleading guilty in the case.

In January, former office Danielle Baymack, 23, of Queens pleaded guilty in the death of Marlene Rivera, 24, of Brooklyn, in the Sept. 22, 2006, crash on Sunrise Highway in Wantagh. They were off duty.

In a surprising turn, Rivera's mother, Anna Fernandez, took the stand then and asked Nassau County Judge Meryl Berkowitz to sentence Baymack to 6 months in jail and 5 years' probation. At the request of the family, Berkowitz accepted Baymack's plea for a promise to the sentence.

But Berkowitz said Friday that she found it "difficult" to honor the parents' wishes and instead handed down a longer sentence. Still, Baymack escaped a possible 15-year sentence.

"I just want to say how sorry I am," a tearful Baymack said before sentencing. Great Neck attorney Raymond Silverman, who spoke on behalf of Rivera's mother and father, Jose Rivera, said they were satisfied with the ruling.

"They have forgiven Miss Baymack," Silverman said after the hearing. Rivera's parents left before the sentencing. Baymack was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated in the crash.

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