Family says father was wrongfully charged in police-involved crash

Posted: Updated:
EAST NEW YORK -

An East New York family says they are torn apart in the aftermath of a police-involved crash that landed a father of three behind bars.

Leeland Rebello, 6, was riding his dirt bike with his father Benjamin Velez, 39, Friday. The family says a 75th Precinct patrol car hit the bike and Velez was hit with a slew of charges.

Police say Velez was riding the wrong way on a one-way street. The officers claim to have had a steady green light when they collided with Velez and his son. The 6-year-old was sitting on the front of the bike and the NYPD says the bike was unregistered, uninsured and being driven recklessly.

Velez's wife, Joanne Rebello, disputes that claim, saying the bike is small and his feet were touching the ground so it couldn't have been going fast. Velez is charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child and reckless driving.

Rebello says her husband is the one who makes money for the family. She is now worried how they will pay their bills while he is behind bars. But, an order of protection was issues so Velez cannot come home once he is released.

The Administration for Children's Services said in a statement, "Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City. We are investigating this case."

Rebello says her son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and that riding the bike helps him cope. She says this has really upset her son, who turns 7 Tuesday and will be spending his birthday without his father. Rebello plans to keep fighting to get her husband out of jail. His next court date is July 29.

 

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