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Claiming that an NYPD conspiracy may help the cop who ran their daughter down go free, the parents of 33-year-old Vionique Valnord have filed a civil suit against the city, the NYPD and the cop who ended their child’s life.
Speaking at attorney Sanford Rubenstein’s office in downtown Brooklyn, Valnord’s parents didn’t mince words on how they believe that officers responding to the Mill Basin accident last September delayed a blood test that would have determined how intoxicated Police Officer Andrew Kelly was when he killed Valnord.
Valnord, a security guard from Rogers Avenue in East Flatbush, had just left a wedding and was hailing a cab on East 56th Street at Avenue N when she was struck by Kelly’s jeep at 1:10 am.
The seven-year member of the force, who had patrolled the streets of Bay Ridge before his run-in with Valnord, was one of many witnesses to render aid to the woman as paramedics arrived. His four passengers, including an off-duty cop from the 70th Precinct in Flatbush, fled the scene.
Paramedics rushed Valnord to Kings County Hospital where she died of her injuries.
Responding officers arrested Kelly on drunk driving charges. He was immediately suspended from the force.
Officials said that a cup of beer was in Kelly’s jeep when the accident took place. He had been drinking for two hours before the accident, as he watched a football game at a friend’s house.
But his blood alcohol content told a different story: a test taken four hours after the accident said that he was sober.
In the civil suit, Valnord’s family claims that responding officers “delayed the investigation and attempted to cover-up that [Kelly] operated a motor vehicle under the influence due to the fact that [Kelly] was a fellow police officer.”
“The issue is cover-up,” Rubenstein asked. “Was Kelly given bottles of water and gum at the scene by police, and if so, why? Was there a delay in getting a warrant for a blood test?”
The wrongful death suit, which also names Kelly’s wife because she owned the jeep her husband was driving, also charges pain and suffering, loss of services and negligent hiring.
Attorneys for the city would not talk about the suit.
“The death of Ms. Valnord is tragic,” said Mark Palomino, chief of the NYC Law Department’s Litigation Unit. “As it is a matter in litigation, we cannot comment further.”
Kelly had been indicted on vehicular manslaughter among other charges. If convicted, he could be face up to seven years in prison.
Kelly is due back in criminal court on April 16.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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