Grandfather Killed When Drunk Off-Duty Cop Hits Him With SUV, NYPD Says
William Hemphill, 51, had just bought his teriyaki chicken sandwich and was crossing Richmond Terrace heading north to his job when officer Joseph McClean, 29, slammed into him with a 2010 Ford Escape at Lake Avenue about 6:18 a.m., witnesses and cops said.
Hemphill, who lives in Maryland, was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
McClean was taken into custody at the scene and charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired, police said.
The owner of a deli at the intersection, Ala Kalbouneh, said Hemphill worked every other week at a dredging company across the street and had just bought that day's lunch and headed to work when he was hit.
"He was very nice," Kalbouneh said. "He loved his granddaughter. He’d do anything for his granddaughter.”
Tony Ramirez, 45, and his brother were walking past the intersection at the time of the accident.
"We heard this loud roar," Ramirez said.
The SUV sped away and Ramirez dialed 911 to help the victim as he lay in the street, he said.
A co-worker at Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was broken up about his friend's death.
"He's such a nice guy. He has a great family," said co-worker Jim Daily, 64. "It's so depressing to see your brother like that."
Hemphill only stayed on Staten Island while working at the dredging company, according to Kalbouneh, who rented a room to him above the deli.
Ramirez said he was speaking with police about seven minutes after the strike when the driver returned to the scene and said, "I did it. It was me."