So, I guess the life of Vionique Valnord is worth 90 days behind bar for the officer who mowed her down in the street. That’s what former NYPD officer Andrew Kelly got for his unspeakable act of driving under the influence. Last September he struck and killed Valnord as she was hailing a cab in Brooklyn, NY. The family has given their blessings and are okay with the sentence, but what message has this sent to drunk drivers who happen to be police officers? Say the right things and the family will forgive you and ask for a lenient sentence for you.
It’s not so much that Kelly is remorseful. It’s what he did in the aftermath of the accident. He was off-duty and driving home with police officer friend Michael Downs after a night of drinking when he ran over Ms. Valnord on September 27, 2009. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test and the blood test was done seven hours after the accident. By then, Kelly’s system was alcohol-free. Talk about a cover-up by the brotherhood of blue uniforms! It should be noted that an Internal Affairs investigation into a possible cover-up led to the suspension of three officers, including Downs for fleeing the scene of an accident. There’s more. Officer Robert McGinn, who gave Kelly chewing gum and two bottles of water, was also suspended. Sorry, they should be fired.
These officers, including Kelly, had little regard for Ms. Valnord. If they cared, they would not have left the scene and would not have tried to cover their tracks. On that basis, Andrew Kelly should have received a longer sentence than 90 days in prison. Some lesson to his children. Under a plea deal worked out with prosecutors and Volnard’s kin, he agreed to undergo alcoholism treatment and will be barred from driving for a year, according to the New York Daily News. Valnord’s family sued Kelly and the NYPD in March, alleging that police officers deliberately delayed a blood-alcohol test to give Kelly time to sober up. If there’s any consolation, his admission in court today is a big step forward for the family in their civil lawsuit.