Alleged drunk driver charged in crash that killed cop

October 20, 2012 7:28:42 AM PDT
The driver accused of starting a chain-reaction crash that ended in the death of a Nassau County Highway Patrolman was officially charged.

"James how are you feeling?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Bad," Ryan answered.


That's how James Ryan described how he's feeling.

The 25 year old is being charged with manslaughter in the death of veteran Nassau County Police Officer and father of two Joseph Olivieri.

After pleading not guilty, Ryan was released on $120,000 bail.

His parents rushed away from the cameras.

Prosecutors say Ryan had at least a .09 blood alcohol content when he got in an accident on the lie early Thursday morning.

Witnesses reported seeing Ryan speeding and swerving in and out of lanes.

Olivieri responded to the accident.

As he was crossing the highway to Ryan's car in the far left lane, an Escalade came by.

The driver in the vehicle trying to avoid hitting Olivieri hit Ryan's car and then crashed into Olivieri, killing him.

"I've asked the people to preserve the Escalade because one of the issues I want to see if it was speeding as it was going eastbound on the LIE," his attorney said.

"The bottom line is here: if he wasn't on the road and he hadn't been involved in those two other accidents, this never would have happened," said James Carver, Nassau County PBA President.

The officer was a 19-year police veteran who spent five years with the NYPD before joining the Nassau County Police Department in 1998. The father of two, 21-year-old Amanda and 18-year-old Daniel, was pronounced dead at North Shore University Hospital.

Olivieri is the third Nassau County police officer to die in the line of duty recently. All three knew each other and were classmates at the Police Academy.

"We're backing each other up," PBA president James Carver said. "We're with each other, and nobody understands what we do. But we all understand, and we're a family here."

The driver of the vehicle who hit Olivieri has not been charged.

Ryan, who had his license suspended, is expected to post $120,000 bail. The judge adjourned the case until November 8.

Flags in Nassau County will fly at half staff for the next 30 days.

Officer Olivieri's funeral mass will be held Monday, October 22, 2012, at 12:00 P.M. at St. Joseph's R.C. Church.

Interment will be immediately following at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Visitation will be held at the Ronkonkoma Fire Department Saturday, October 20, 2012, 7-9 P.M. and Sunday, October 21, 2012, 2-4 & 7-9 P.M.

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