Cop’s Trial in Fatal DWI Set to Start
Originally published on March 8, 2004
By Nancie L. Katz
Daily News Staff Writer
The trial of an off-duty cop accused of mowing down a motorcyclist while driving drunk nearly two years ago begins in Brooklyn Supreme Court this week.
Jury selection begins today in the vehicular manslaughter case against Police Officer Victor Wilson, who allegedly crashed into motorcyclist Stefanos Kiladitis on June 19, 2002. Kiladitis, 21, of Bay Ridge, died three days later. Wilson, of Tottenville, S.I., pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Wilson’s attorneys said the cop was not drunk when he left a Bay Ridge bowling alley while off duty and allegedly ran a red light about a block from 88th St. and Fort Hamilton Parkway, striking Kiladitis’ bike.
In a sobriety test taken about 90 minutes after the crash, Wilson’s blood level was 0.11%, which is 0.01% above the legal limit, authorities said.
The crash occurred a year after then – Police Officer Joseph Gray struck and killed a family while driving drunk in Sunset Park. After Gray was convicted in April 2002, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced a zero-tolerance drinking policy. The policy was invoked in Wilson’s case, and he was suspended from the force.
Kiladitis’ family is demanding tougher laws and punishment for drunken drivers, especially cops. They said they feared Wilson would get special treatment because he is a police officer. Wilson should be punished like anyone else, Kiladitis’ brother John said after the accident.
Despite the tougher NYPD guidelines, Brooklyn prosecutors complained that police waited four hours to tell them the accident involved an officer who was allegedly intoxicated.
Investigating officers said Wilson smelled of alcohol. After he was taken to the 78th Precinct station house, he refused to take a more sophisticated Breathalyzer test. Police did obtain a warrant to draw his blood.
Wilson’s attorney has insisted Wilson was not drunk and accused the motorcyclist, not Wilson, of speeding.