NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A once-honored NYPD officer, accused of drunken driving after crashing his car in Hamilton Heights, was released on his own recognizance following his arraignment Sunday night.
Dramatic cellphone video shows a car flipped over on its side and the driver trapped inside after crashing into three parked cars early Sunday morning on 135th Street and Riverside Drive.
“To hear that he’s a police officer or allegedly a police officer, it’s scary,” witness Marcos Cruz said.
“It was crazy. There was glass all over the ground. He was screaming to get out,” said witness Denise Dunn.
Firefighters worked frantically to extricate the driver, identified as off-duty NYPD Officer Eugene Donnelly, whom authorities have charged with driving while intoxicated.
“Guy had to be drunk cause he was must’ve been doing 65 to 70 miles an hour,” witness Ronald White said.
It’s not the first time the 29-year-old officer has found himself on the wrong side of the law. One day after receiving a combat cross award from Police Commissioner Bill Bratton for bravery back in 2014, Donnelly was captured on video wearing only black boxers, leaving the apartment building of a woman he allegedly pummeled.
Donnelly, who was charged with assault and criminal trespass and is now on trial for that attack, has said he was sleepwalking. But sources tell CBS2 Donnelly actually got drunk after receiving his award from Bratton and then crashed at a friend’s apartment in the victim’s building before the alleged attack, CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported.
Back at the crash scene that’s raising eyebrows.
“I was shocked about that part. I was really shocked,” Dunn said.
“That’s terrible to be one of New York’s Finest to be getting back to back stuff like that,” White said.
Donnelly had been placed on modified duty prior to the crash.
Police say no one else was hurt in the crash. The three parked cars Donnelly struck were empty.
Donnelly himself suffered minor injuries.