An Oakdale man was accused of driving drunk when he allegedly caused the Long Island Expressway crashes that a Nassau County police officer was responding to when he struck and killed.
James Ryan was charged Friday with vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a control substance, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a crash.
Police said the 25-year-old man was driving eastbound on the LIE when he hit a BMW, fled the scene and abruptly stopped in the left lane near exit 35 in North Hills, where a Honda Civic then struck his car shortly before 5 a.m. Thursday.
Highway Patrol Officer Joseph Olivieri, a 13-year veteran of the force, was hit by a Cadillac Escalade as he tried to help Ryan, whose car came to a rest in the HOV lane.
Olivieri was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, where he died about a half hour later.
Prosecutors said Ryan’s blood alcohol content was 0.09 percent three hours after the crash.
“This is obviously a very unfortunate accident,” said Ryan’s attorney, Brian Davis, before his client was arraigned at First District Court in Hempstead. “I have real problem with attributing his unfortunate death to my client who was just sitting there at the time.”
Judge Eric Bjorneby set bail for Ryan at $120,000. Davis said he expects Ryan’s parents to post bail by the end of the day. Ryan is due back in court Nov. 7.