NEW YORK police officer indicted for drunken driving accident that killed family

Friday, August 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ An off-duty New York City police officer who is accused of killing three family members while driving drunk has been indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of manslaughter.

Defense attorney Harold Levy said his client, Officer Joseph Gray, would plead innocent at his arraignment, which was scheduled for Friday.

The 15-year veteran, also was indicted Thursday for vehicular manslaughter, as well as drunken driving, speeding and running a red light.

Gray, 40, allegedly struck and killed Maria Herrera, 24, who was eight months pregnant, along with her 4-year-old son, Andy, and her 16-year-old sister, Dilcia. Herrera's baby was delivered by Caesarean section after the accident but was stillborn.

Hundreds of mourners turned out Thursday for the family's funeral.

``I, unfortunately, as the mayor have been in a lot of funerals and wakes, and I can't think of one that was more horrific than this one,'' Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said. ''So my heart goes out to them, and we'll do anything we can to help.''

Gray had been drinking with colleagues at a strip club and in a police parking lot next to the 72nd Precinct stationhouse before Saturday's wreck, prosecutors said.

Seventeen officers, including the precinct's commander, have been disciplined. Twelve of them had been either drinking in the parking lot or visiting the strip club, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said.