Today’s news:

Hit & run charge increase for off-duty cop

The case of the off-duty police officer arrested for the hit-and-run murder of a Bronx resident in October while allegedly intoxicated continues to develop. A grand jury has boosted charges against Detective Kevin Spellman from vehicular manslaughter to aggravated vehicular homicide.

Spellman, 42, was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu when he allegedly struck and killed 70-year-old Drana Nikac, a Bronx resident and Albanian immigrant. The accident occurred on Friday, October 30 at approximately 6:40 a.m.

Spellman, a 22-year veteran of the Police Department assigned to the Warrant Section of its Fugitive Enforcement Task Force, was within his legal rights when he refused sobriety tests on scene and at the 45th Precinct. He was transferred to Jacobi Medical Center to have blood drawn nearly five hours after the accident. The results of the test put Spellman’s blood-alcohol level at .21, more than twice the legal limit of .08. 

According to a complaint report, informants on scene reported Spellman as having a strong smell of alcohol, slurred speech and glassy eyes. Also according to the report, Spellman said, “I was driving.  I didn’t see that guy.  He came out of nowhere.”

The report further states that Nikac was pronounced dead at approximately 9:20 a.m. According to Dr. Eric Appelbaum of St. Barnabas Hospital, her death was the result of internal injuries consistent with being struck by a car. 

Spellman was released on a $100,000 insurance bond on a relative’s home. He has been charged with one count each of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter in the first and second degrees, manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, violation of maximum speed limits, failure to stop at steady red signal, and two counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Spellman faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.  Assistant District Attorney James Goward is prosecuting the case. 

All charges are accusations and Spellman remains innocent until proven guilty.

Reach reporter Amanda Marinaccio at 718 742-3394 or

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