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Ex-officer gets jail in fatal DWI

Nassau County police said public safety officer Robert

Nassau County police said public safety officer Robert Core of Hempstead was on duty, and driving a marked town car, when he fatally hit a pedestrian in East Meadow. (July 14, 2011) Credit: NCPD

A former Hempstead public safety officer will spend nine months in jail after he was found guilty of aggravated drunken driving in a crash that killed a Lindenhurst man as he crossed Hempstead Turnpike last year.

A Nassau County judge Thursday gave Robert Core a week to "get his affairs in order" before reporting to jail Thursday.

The gesture rang flat with Diane Ware, who was engaged to marry the man Core hit. "No one gave Eddie a week to say goodbye," she said of her fiance, Eddie Cotto.

Core, 52, who was on duty at the time, was found not guilty of vehicular manslaughter charges in July after Judge Jerald Carter said that, though he was legally drunk, prosecutors did not prove that his drunkenness caused the accident.

In court, Carter spoke directly to Eddie Cotto's daughter, Kimberly Cotto, 14, who had written the judge saying she had lost faith in law enforcement.

"I can understand how you might have lost faith . . . but do not judge everyone by the actions of this one individual," Carter said. After Carter sentenced Core, Kimberly said she felt "a little bit better" as she clutched three photographs of her father holding her when she was a child.

Before he was sentenced, Core apologized to Cotto's family.

Carter has said the evidence in Core's two-week trial showed that Eddie Cotto, 50, of Lindenhurst, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 percent as he crossed Hempstead Turnpike near Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow about 11:20 p.m. Carter said Cotto was seeking admission to the hospital's alcohol rehabilitation program.

Prosecutors have said Core was heading to investigate complaints of kids trespassing at the town-owned Wolcott Pool in Levittown at the time of the crash. Core told police he had 40 ounces of Colt 45 malt liquor with his dinner about five hours earlier, and he registered 0.17 percent blood-alcohol content just after the crash, more than twice the legal limit, the prosecutor said.

A single father who had earned $70,343 a year, Core has since been fired, a town spokeswoman said.

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