Ex-Cop Convicted in DWI Deaths Denies Being Drunk

ByABC News via GMA logo
June 11, 2002, 10:58 PM

N E W   Y O R K, June 12 -- It was one of last year's most highly publicized drunk driving cases: A pregnant woman and her family were struck and killed, and the drunk driver behind the wheel was a cop who had been partying all day.

Former NYPD Police Officer Joseph Gray told ABCNEWS in an exclusive jailhouse interview that it is "possible" his reflexes might not have been as good as they should have been, since he had consumed more than 12 beers the day the accident occurred in a Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood.

But he denied his reflexes were the real issue.

"I don't think I would have seen them any sooner," said Gray, who is serving five to 15 years in prison on manslaughter charges. "If the circumstances are exactly as I've stated, the most sober person driving a car would still have hit these people."

Gray, who was convicted on May 3, said he is sorry for what happened, but he believes any other driver could have hit the Herrera family because they appeared out of nowhere, and crossed the street against the light.

Hes a Monster

The accident happened last Aug. 4. Gray who had spent the entire day drinking was driving down a Brooklyn street at what turned out to be just the wrong moment. Maria Herrera, 24, was crossing that street, heading to her mother's house with her 4-year-old son, Andy, and her 16-year-old sister, Delcia Pena. Gray mowed them down.

Immediately, one frantic witness dialed 911.

"A pregnant woman, oh my God, all three of them are laying out on the floor," the caller said. "The car just hit all three. They all flew up in the air."

Maria Herrera, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was taken to a local hospital where her unborn child was delivered by Caesarean section. The infant, Ricardo Herrera, died 12 hours later.

Maria and Delcia's mother called Gray a "monster, " while headlines labeled him a "liar," and an "animal." Prosecutors said that Gray's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.