Monday, July 29, 2002

 

NYPD CAPTAIN RESIGNS AND PLEADS GUILTY TO RECKLESS MANSLAUGHTER IN DWI DEATH OF BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION WORKER; FACES THREE YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today that a New York City Police Department Captain has resigned from the Department and has pled guilty to reckless manslaughter in the October 1999 death of a construction worker on the Throgs Neck Bridge. OíConnor, who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, resigned from the NYPD last Friday on the eve of his trial.

District Attorney Brown said, "The defendant, a career police commander with a promising future, has admitted his guilt to a terrible and tragic crime. He has resigned from the Police Department and will serve a state prison sentence."

District Attorney Brown identified the defendant as James O'Connor, 47, a former New York City Police Department Captain. He pled guilty today to Manslaughter in the Second Degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert J. Hanophy who indicated that he intends to send the defendant to prison for up to three years when he imposes sentence on September 16, 2002.

During the plea proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Brad A. Leventhal told the court that the prosecution was recommending that a sentence of three to nine years in prison be imposed.

According to the charges, on the night of October 20, 1999 the defendant left a gathering in the Bronx in a Police Department vehicle and to drive to Queens to pick up his private car. As he crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge at about 12:40 a.m., the defendant drove into a closed construction lane on the bridge. While driving in the closed lane, the defendant struck and killed Afif Hazim, 52, a construction worker, who was removing asphalt from the roadway for resurfacing. Tests revealed that the defendantís blood alcohol level was .12, above the legal limit of .10 for operating a vehicle.

Assistant District Attorney Brad A. Leventhal, Deputy Bureau Chief, of the District Attorney's Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau was in charge of the prosecution under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney James W. Evangelou, Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Gregory L. Lasak and Executive Assistant District Attorney for Trials James C. Quinn.