West Babylon man dies after allegedly fleeing police

September 27, 2010 2:41:06 PM PDT
A West Babylon family is searching for an explanation why John Ricciardi made a decision police say cost him his life.

"I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell you what was going through his mind. This was out of his character I just cannot understand it," Stella Figueroa said. "I mean he's a family man, has a good job, is an ex-marine. Husband, dad. We don't know why he decided to flee,"

Police are just as mystified. Early Sunday morning, their only interest in the 49-year-old husband and father of two was that he had been speeding.

Before the officer who pulled him over could even ask for his license, Ricciardi sped off and the officer chased him.

A mile away, it was the approaching siren that woke up Carmen Thomas.

"And then the screech. You know, the tires screeching on the road, and then ka-boom! A lot of glass and debris," Thomas said.

Ricciardi lost control, flipped and slammed into a pole.

Police say there was no immediate sign of drugs or alcohol or anything illegal in the car.

By all accounts, Ricciardi had been living a clean life in the house where he grew up, which is just down the block from where the officer first pulled him over.

Longtime neighbors insist there must be more to this story. They just can't imagine what.

"Who knows what happened? Only the cop and Johnny, who's in heaven now. He don't have to run. He don't have to run from nobody," Thomas said.

"It's not right that they took him. He does everything for me and now he's not here," Figueroa said.