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Even though he scored a 0.0 on a breathalyzer test, a grand jury found enough evidence to bring drunk-driving charges against a Bay Ridge cop who mowed down a preacher’s daughter last month.
Officials from the Kings County District Attorney’s office said that Police Officer Andrew Kelly was indicted on charges of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and speeding.
If convicted, Kelly, who was assigned to the 68th Precinct before his arrest, faces up to seven years in prison.
Kelly was nearing the corner of East 56th Street and Avenue N in Mill Basin at 1 a.m. on September 27 when he struck Vionique Valnord-Kassime.
Valnord-Kassime had just left a nearby wedding and was hailing a cab when she was struck, officials said.
Kelly, a seven-year member of the force, was one of many witnesses to render aid to the woman. His four passengers reportedly left the scene before responding officers arrived.
Paramedics rushed the woman to Kings County Hospital where she died of her injuries, officials said.
Although Kelly was showing signs of being drunk at the scene and had reportedly admitted to having a few beers as he watched a football game with friends before the accident, he scored a 0.0 on a breathalyzer administered seven hours after the accident.
Sources said that a host of errors led to the long delay. It reportedly took four hours to get a warrant to compel Kelly to give a blood sample. The test was further delayed when the doctor charged with drawing the blood thought he needed Kelly’s consent to proceed.
Despite the test results, prosecutors said that they had “other evidence” to prove their case and had promised the family that they would take the case to a grand jury.
Two other cops were suspended with Kelly in this incident %u2013 a cop from the 70th Precinct who was in Kelly’s car at the time of the accident, but had left the scene, and a cop from the 63rd Precinct who reportedly gave Kelly water and gum in an attempt to sober him up before the breathalyzer test was taken.
Fourteen Guyanese Brooklynites are penniless and facing deportation after falling for the silver tongue of a convicted bigamist posing as a veteran immigration lawyer, prosecutors said this week.
Wilmer Rivera Melendez allegedly bilked thousands of dollars from immigrants to whom he had offered legal advice and promised green cards, Manhattan prosecutors said.
The advice was worthless and in fact had the opposite effect: instead of staying in this country, many are now being kicked out, officials said.
Claiming to be a lawyer with 20 years of immigration-related experience in federal agencies, Melendez allegedly promised to get green cards for his 14 victims.
They and others paid at least $75,000 for misguided efforts, according to prosecutors and immigration lawyer Sheldon Zelig, who alerted prosecutors to the cases.
Prosecutors said many of the immigrants were in the country illegally, but immigration authorities didn’t know until Melendez started filing paperwork for them.
According to the complaint, Melendez recommended that some of his clients seek asylum in the U.S. %u2013 a step taken only by people fleeing persecution in their homeland.
When those requests landed on a desk at a local U.S. Immigration office and were found to be bogus, steps were made to have the applicants deported immediately, officials said.
Melendez also allegedly offered some of his female clients another way out: they could marry him.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Melendez was married to more than one person %u2013 he was convicted of bigamy in Georgia, prosecutors learned. He was also arrested for burglary in the Virgin Islands and had broken out of a jail in Ohio, police alleged.
Prosecutors charged Melendez with grand larceny, scheme to defraud and falsely appearing as an attorney. If convicted, he faces four years in prison, officials said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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