Stranded Driver, 18, Fatally Struck by Sheriff's Deputy on L.I.E.

The victim was a college student heading to class, relatives said.

By Pei-Sze Cheng and Greg Cergol
|  Thursday, Mar 15, 2012  |  Updated 8:47 PM EDT
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Family and friends were grieving the death of 18-year-old William Schettino Thursday after he was struck and killed by a sheriff's deputy on the Long Island Expressway Wednesday night, and investigators were back on the scene of the crash. Greg Cergol reports.

NBC New York

Family and friends were grieving the death of 18-year-old William Schettino Thursday after he was struck and killed by a sheriff's deputy on the Long Island Expressway Wednesday night, and investigators were back on the scene of the crash. Greg Cergol reports.

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An 18-year-old college student whose car was stranded on the Long Island Expressway Wednesday evening was struck and killed by a Suffolk County sheriff's deputy who apparently didn't see him.

The family of William Schettino told NBC New York he was on his way to Suffolk County Community College to attend class when he was sideswiped by a car while going westbound on the L.I.E. at about 5:50 p.m.

Schettino was apparently forced into the left median, and he remained stranded in the HOV lane, according to his family. He turned on his hazard lights, and exited the vehicle on the passenger's side to wait for help.

"After he got sideswiped, he called me and his mom, and said, 'I've been in an accident, come and get me,'" Schettino's grieving girlfriend Alyson Moruzzi told NBC New York Thursday. "By the time we got there, I guess the cop had hit him already and he was gone."

Authorities said the sheriff's deputy, who was also going westbound on the L.I.E., apparently did not see Schettino and his vehicle on the left side until they were very close. The deputy swerved to avoid Schettino's vehicle, and struck Schettino in the process.

Schettino was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Schettino "did the right thing," said family friend Eileen Mattiucci. "He called his mother, he called 911 and he waited for help. This is not his fault. He did everything right."

A Sheriff's Department spokesman said extreme sun glare may have blinded the sheriff's deputy, identified as Richard Tedesco, a five-year veteran of the force. He was not facing any charges.

Tedesco could not be reached for comment.

Investigators were back on the scene of the crash Thursday. Questions such as the speed of the sheriff's car remain unanswered, and it could be months before investigators reach any conclusions.

"He was just a caring young boy, and wonderful," family friend Pat Loper said of Schettino.

"He was going places. He was so driven," Moruzzi said, crying. "He wanted to graphic design, his art is amazing. He didn't deserve any of this."

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