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Ex-Bayside officer gets one year for DWI death

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Criminal Court Judge Meryl Berkowitz informed Baymack, who worked out of the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica with Rivera, that she had changed the former Bayside resident's original plea deal made in January, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. Although Rivera's mother and father asked the judge for less jail time, the 22-year-old accepted the new offer and will serve a year in prison on manslaughter and DWI charges."She wants to get this done with and move on with her life," Baymack's attorney Dennis Lemke told the New York Post.Early on the morning of Sept. 22, 2006, Baymack, who graduated from the Police Academy a few months earlier, was traveling west on the Sunrise Highway in her 2000 Mitsubishi Galant with Rivera, 24, after a night out at a bar, according to the DA. Baymack left the roadway near the Wantagh State Parkway in Long Island, traveling at more than 50 miles per hour before careening onto a guardrail and slamming into a sign post.Rivera was rushed to Nassau University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead a short time later. Baymack was also injured and taken to the hospital, where a test indicated her blood alcohol concentration was .11, above the legal limit of .08, Rice said.Baymack initially faced a maximum of 15 years in prison on manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and DWI charges, but Rivera's family pleaded to Berkowitz to go easy on her since they had forgiven her for the accident. In January, the former Bayside resident made a deal with the judge to serve six months in prison and five months probation in exchange for a guilty plea to her charges, according to the DA.Berkowitz later changed her mind on the deal because Rivera's "life was cut short," the Post reported. In a statement, DA Rice expressed her disappointment with the judge's decision since she thought the former officer deserved "an upstate prison sentence for her crimes.""While I proudly stand alongside and advocate for every victim that walks through this door, I have an additional responsibility to the community as a whole," she said. "I will continue to stand alongside this family, and I respect their decision, but I will also continue to fight to hold drunk drivers who kill accountable for their actions."Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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