Driver Charged in Crash That Led to Cop Death

His blood alcohol was .09 a few hours after the crash, which was over the legal limit of .08, authorities said

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    The 25 year-old man accused of triggering a chain of events that led to an officer's death is free on bail. The legal wrangling over whether he should actually be charged is only beginning. Greg Cergol reports (Published Friday, Oct. 19, 2012)

    A 25-year-old man was charged Friday with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving and numerous other charges in connection with a crash on the Long Island Expressway where a police officer stopped to help and was hit by another car.

    James Ryan was arrested following the series of collisions that killed Joseph Olivieri, a 43-year-old father of two.

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    Olivieri, who was with the Nassau County Police Department for 14 years, was hit by a Cadillac Escalade after he got out to respond to a crash that police say Ryan caused.

    Authorities said Ryan had been in an accident with a 2008 BMW and had continued on down the expressway, when he struck a Honda Civic, stopping in the HOV lane. Olivieri stopped to help Ryan when he was hit.

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    Ryan was treated at a hospital for minor injuries before his arrest.

    Authorities said Friday that his blood alcohol level was .09, above the legal limit of .08.

    His lawyer argued there was no causality between his client's actions and the death of Olivieri.

    "My client did not strike the police officer," Brian Davis said in court.

    Ryan's bail was set at $120,000. He pleaded not guilty and is currently out on bail.

    Meanwhile a wake for Olivieri has been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Ronkonkoma firehouse, with a funeral Monday at St. Joseph's Church in Ronkonkoma.

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