Ex-NYPD officer gets 1 year in DWI crash

Danielle Baymack admitted she was driving drunk
March 14, 2008 4:16:42 PM PDT
A former police officer who admitted she was driving drunk when her car smashed into a guardrail and killed a fellow NYPD rookie was sentenced Friday to a year in jail. Danielle Baymack, 23, pleaded guilty in January to manslaughter and other charges, and had expected to get six months in jail and five months probation - a sentence that the victim's family had requested, court officials said.

But Nassau County Court Judge Meryl Berkowitz told Baymack on Friday that she had reconsidered her commitment, saying six months was not enough time. She instead doubled the sentence, with no probation.

Baymack, who was given the chance to rescind her guilty plea and take her chances at trial, agreed to the one-year term.

Police say Baymack, who was off duty, was driving drunk in Wantagh at about 4:30 a.m on Sept. 22, 2006, when her vehicle left the road, hitting a guardrail and a road sign. Her passenger, 24-year-old Marlene Rivera of Brooklyn, was killed.

Investigators believe the two officers, who had graduated from the New York Police Academy only two months before, had dropped off another rookie on Long Island after spending time at a nightclub. Both Rivera and Baymack were assigned to the 103rd Precinct in Queens. Because Baymack was still a probationary officer, she was fired by the NYPD after her arrest.

If convicted at trial, Baymack could have faced a prison sentence of 5 to 15 years.

Baymack's attorney said his client accepted responsibility and respects the way Berkowitz handled the case.

"Her heart goes out to the family," Dennis Lemke said. "If she could take it back, of course she would."

The victim's mother left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.