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Retired NYPD Officer Charged With Murder in Drunk Driving Crash

By Eddie Small | October 15, 2015 3:22pm
 A retired police officer has been charged with murder in a drunk driving accident in The Bronx.
A retired police officer has been charged with murder in a drunk driving accident in The Bronx.
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Anton K. Nilsson/DNAinfo

RIVERDALE — A retired Bronx police officer faces up to 25 years in prison after being charged with fatally hitting a pedestrian with his car in a drunk driving accident.

Jorge Hernaiz, 44, was driving his 2013 gray Toyota Camry home on the Henry Hudson Parkway around 3 a.m. on May 31 after a night of shooting pool that also included drinking a bottle of vodka and a can of Colt 45, prosecutors say.

When he exited the parkway onto Broadway and West 254th Street, his car allegedly struck pedestrian Marino Nunez, a 34-year-old father of two, who was critically injured at the scene and died from his wounds days later.

Witnesses called 911 and claimed to see Hernaiz trying to pull Nunez's body out from under his car, according to the Bronx District Attorney's office.

"I felt that I hit something, and I stopped my car," Hernaiz said, according to the criminal complaint. "I got out and saw a male laying on the ground with blood around his head, and then I got shocked."

Hernaiz stayed on the scene as ambulances arrived for both Nunez and him. He was having trouble standing up and fell over unexpectedly at one point, police said.

His blood alcohol tests measured him at .25, more than three times the legal limit, and there was a 16-ounce bottle of Svedka Vodka in his car that was almost empty, according to prosecutors.

When officers tried to put him in handcuffs, Hernaiz refused to put his hands behind his back and started fighting with the police, prosecutors said.

"I don't want to have to hurt one of you," he told the police, according to the criminal complaint.

It took about six officers to restrain Hernaiz, who is approximately 6 feet tall and weighs roughly 250 pounds, according to the DA's office.

Hernaiz was arraigned on Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty to charges including vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

The bail for Hernaiz was set at $350,000, and he is due back in court on Jan. 26.

Hernaiz spent 14 years as a police officer in the 43rd Precinct, which covers the southeastern Bronx. He retired in 2008.

His lawyer Osvaldo Gonzalez declined to comment on the case.