Family of LIE Crash Victim Seeks Answers

Parents of young college student want sheriff's deputy held responsbile for son's death

Sunday, May 6, 2012  |  Updated 7:47 AM EDT
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The parents of a Blue Point teen struck and killed by the patrol car of a Suffolk Sheriff's deputy are questioning why prosecutors have yet to conclude their investigation. Greg Cergol has the story.

The parents of a Blue Point teen struck and killed by the patrol car of a Suffolk Sheriff's deputy are questioning why prosecutors have yet to conclude their investigation. Greg Cergol has the story.

The parents of a teen struck and killed by the patrol car of a Suffolk sheriff's deputy on the Long Island Expressway are questioning why prosecutors have yet to conclude their investigation.

"It's been two months and we just want an answer," said Luigi Schettino, the father of victim Billy Schettino. "What the heck happened?"

In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, Luigi and JoAnn Schettino said they were concerned that the deputy whose car hit their son will not be held responsible.

Schettino's parents also wept openly about the loss of their son -- a student at Suffolk community college and budding artist.

"We suffer every day," said JoAnn Schettino. "I wake up crying and I go to bed crying."

"I visit my son's grave every day," added Luigi Schettino.  "That's as close as I can get to my boy."

Billy Schettino, 18, was on his way to class in March when, his parents say, his car was sideswiped by an unidentified vehicle on the LIE in Ronkonkoma. 

According to the Suffolk sheriff's department, Schettino pulled his car into the HOV lane and got out.  That's when he was hit and killed by a marked patrol car driven by veteran deputy Richard Tedesco.

According to JoAnn Schettino, her son had called from his cell phone just prior to the crash.

"He said, 'Mommy, I'm scared.' I said, 'Mommy's coming.' Mommy always got there. Mommy didn't get there this time," she said.

According to the sheriff's department, Tedesco was blinded by sun glare just before the crash.

Tedesco has not been charged. After being put on desk duty for a time, he is back on full duty, but is not patrolling on the LIE, according to a sheriff's department spokesman.

The crash investigation is continuing, said Robert Clifford,  a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney.  At the time of the crash in March, a state police spokesman said the accident reconstruction "could take months."

"He is 100 percent at fault for my son's death," said Luigi Schettino. "What are they trying to hide?"

According to the Schettino family, at least one witness saw Tedesco's car traveling at a high rate of speed before the accident, with no lights flashing or siren sounding.

In an email response, Tedesco said: "I am unable to comment on an open investigation. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Schettino's family and friends."

"if the roles were reversed," Luigi Schettino said, "my son would be in jail right now."

The Schettino family is asking other potential witnesses to the crash to come forward. They are also fighting in court to have prosecutors release Schettino's car, cell phone and autopsy report.

"The case is under active investigation," Clifford said in a statement.  "For that reason, the medical examiner's office has not released the autopsy results and the vehicle has not be returned to the victim's family."

As they wait, the Schettino family is working to convert some vacant land near their home into a skate park to be named in Billy's honor. 

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