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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Detective Retires Before Vehicular Homicide Trial

Detective retires before trial 
The New York Daily News by Joe Kemp  -  May 12, 2012
Detective Kevin Spellman, charged with aggravated vehicular homicide among other charges in fatal 2009 incident in Bronx, quietly retired from the force in late-April. 

The off-duty NYPD cop who was allegedly drunk when he mowed down a Bronx grandmother more than two years ago has quietly retired from the force, the Daily News has learned. Detective Kevin Spellman, who faces charges that include vehicular homicide and criminally negligent homicide, was allowed to retire from the NYPD in late-April without his badge and gun — but walked away with a full pension, officials said. Spellman, 45 — who had been on modified duty since he ran over and killed 67-year-old Drane Nikac, an Albanian immigrant with nine grandchildren, in October 2009 — was not allowed to leave in good standing with the department, officials said. He did not receive what officials call a “Good Guy Letter,” which will prevent him from working any law enforcement gigs in the future, sources said. The 24-year veteran will be able to pull half of his $98,072-a-year salary, because of a law signed last year by Gov. Cuomo. The bill allows members of service to collect their pension after 20 years so long as they are not convicted of a felony. “It’s not surprising that he would retire before his trial,” said Rosemarie Arnold, a lawyer who represents the Nikac family. She said the family has not expressed any hard feelings against Spellman because he was allowed to retire. “Nobody can undo what happened,” she said. “But the fact that Kevin Spellman has showed remorse . . . it makes the family less animus towards him.” After hitting Nikac, Spellman stopped and asked bystanders to call 911 for help, but twice refused to take a Breathalyzer test at the scene, sources said at the time. It took five hours for cops to get a court order to draw Spellman’s blood, which registered a 0.21 blood-alcohol level, sources said. “He has expressed his remorse for this terrible tragedy, but remains convinced that the charges against him are improper,” said his lawyer, Peter Brill. Spellman is due back in court May 31.

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