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Ex-New York police officer indicted in drunken driving death


NEW YORK (CNN) -- A former Brooklyn police officer was indicted Tuesday on three counts related to the death of an unborn child, after a drunk driving accident that killed the baby's mother and two other family members.

Joseph Gray, 40, is accused of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving with a suspended registration. The most serious charge -- manslaughter in the second degree -- is a Class C Felony punishable by a maximum prison term of 15 years.

A 12-count indictment has already been handed down in the deaths of the three other family members.

The indictment charges that on August 4, Gray drove a motor vehicle through a red light in excess of the speed limit while under the influence of alcohol.


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Maria Herrera, her son, Andy, 4, and her sister, Dilcia Pena, 16, were killed. Herrera was pregnant at the time of the accident. After she died, her son was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, and later died.

The indictment charges that the baby's death was a result of the accident.

Police said blood tests showed Gray had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood after the accident in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn. Gray's van struck the family after he allegedly ran a red light following a visit to an "off-limits" topless bar where he had been drinking with fellow officers. Gray was off-duty but on his way to work at the time.

Attorney Johnnie Cochran, who said he is representing the family of Dilcia Pena, told CNN recently he has already filed a claim -- a precursor of wrongful death civil suit -- with the city of New York.

"It alleges that there was negligence, gross negligence really, on the part of this officer Gray and on the part of the supervisors who failed to reign him in if they knew or should have known about his proclivity and propensity to drink," Cochran said.

Gray is free on $250,000 bail. He resigned from the force on August 28.

In the wake of the investigation into the deadly incident, 17 officers were disciplined for department drinking violations or for failing to properly supervise the officers.


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