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Nassau cop charged in hit-and-run crash, misconduct

William Kaul pleaded guilty last week to causing

William Kaul pleaded guilty last week to causing a crash while he was on duty in his unmarked police car in 2010, then fleeing the scene. Credit: NCPD

A Nassau County detective sergeant who authorities said was drinking on duty and later caused a crash that injured the other driver was arrested Wednesday, accused of leaving the scene.

The department's Internal Affairs Unit charged Det. Sgt. William E. Kaul in connection with the Jan. 2 crash.

The collision occurred in North Hills, on the Long Island Expressway's north service road near New Hyde Park Road.

Kaul is accused of rear-ending a disabled Chrysler convertible with his unmarked, department-issued 2006 Ford.

The department said it was trying to determine why Kaul, a supervisor in the Manhasset-based Sixth Squad detectives, was driving the unmarked car more than an hour after his shift was scheduled to end, said police spokesman Det. Lt. Kevin Smith.

Kaul was not driving a take-home department vehicle. Standard procedure calls for an officer to return a department vehicle following a shift.

Kaul, 48, of Lakeview Avenue in Scarsdale, is charged with five misdemeanors: leaving the scene of an accident, obstructing government administration, and three counts of official misconduct.

His attorney, Robert Brunetti of Mineola, said his client pleaded not guilty Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead. Kaul was released without bail.

"The detective sergeant intends to fight all the charges, and I expect him to be exonerated on all counts," Brunetti said.

Kaul, a 22-year veteran of the force, has been suspended without pay, Smith said. He faces separate, internal disciplinary charges.

The crash happened at 9:13 p.m. Jan. 2, when Kaul's police car struck the rear of a Chrysler that was slowing down with its hazard lights flashing on the side of the road because of mechanical failure, the Chrysler driver told investigators.

After the impact pushed the Chrysler onto the sidewalk and into a tree - and caused substantial front-end damage to the police car - Kaul slowed down, then fled, authorities said.

The Chrysler's driver, John P. Sullivan, sustained back, knee and head injuries, but signed a statement hours after the crash saying he didn't want anyone arrested, police said. It was unknown why Sullivan declined to press charges, Smith said. Sullivan was not available for comment.

In court papers filed Wednesday, Det. Lt. Ralph T. Hoffman wrote that Kaul, within 41/2 hours before the crash, "consumed alcoholic beverages at two locations."

After the crash, Kaul went to a location at or near the Manhasset station, according to court records. Police said Kaul later refused the order of a superior officer to stay put, insisting he was "going home and that he was not taking a test," court records say.

Smith would not say where Kaul was before he went home.

The court papers don't say what kind of a test Kaul refused to take. He was identified based on the vehicle's license plate.

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