EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A trusted public safety officer was behind bars on Friday, accused in a deadly drunk driving crash.
To make matters worse, he was on the job, reports CBS 2’s Emily Smith.
Surveillance video showed the victim seconds before a public safety officer allegedly mowed him down in an SUV in East Meadow.
The accident happened as 50-year-old Eddie Albert Cotto, of Lindenhurst, crossed the Hempstead Parkway in front of Nassau University Medical Center late Thursday night.
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The victim wasn’t in the crosswalk and was going against the light when he was hit and carried, on the front of the hood, beyond the red light and to a nearby tire shop.
Police said the driver was Town of Hempstead Public Security Officer Robert Core. The accident occurred only a half hour into his shift, police said, while in uniform and driving a marked vehicle.
Core was assigned to the Wolcott Road swimming pool to stand guard for the night. Police said they didn’t find alcohol in his vehicle, but said he had been drinking before his shift.
“He had slurred speech, his eyes were glassy,” Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith said. “They performed standard field sobriety tests out in the street, which led to placing him in custody.”
Police said Core’s blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.
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Core lives in Hempstead. His neighbors said they’ve seen him around in uniform but don’t know him well, and that they feel for the victim.
“Somebody lost their life,” resident Raine Black said. “You can’t drink and drive.”
“Everybody makes mistakes, but still, he should’ve been more cautious,” neighbor John Fenner said.
Core, police said, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. If convicted, he could spend seven years in prison.
The officer doesn’t have a criminal history. He has been employed by the Town of Hempstead since 2000.