A Suffolk County grand jury cleared a sheriff's deputy of criminal charges in the March crash that killed a Bayport teen, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office and the lawyer for the victim's family.
Billy Schettino, 18, was struck on the Long Island Expressway in March by a patrol car driven by veteran sheriff's deputy Richard Tedesco. The teen was on his way to class at Suffolk Community College when he stopped after sideswiping a barrier and exited his car in the HOV lane just prior to the crash.
The sheriff's department said Tedesco had been blinded by sun glare and never saw Schettino before he hit him. Prosecutors said witnesses testified that sun glare was an issue at the time but Schettino's actions were the primary cause of the crash.
Robert Clifford, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said prosecutors asked the grand jury to consider one count of criminally negligent homicide against Tedesco. The grand jury rejected that charge.
"The NY state police accident reconstruction concluded the primary cause of this collision was due to two factors," said Clifford. "The vehicle was stopped in the roadway and driver William Schettino became a pedestrian."
Ted Rosenberg, attorney for the dead teenager's family, said he was not surprised by the grand jury's decision, though he and the Schettinos still believe Tedesco's negligence cost their boy his life.
Schettino's family would not comment Tuesday. In a prior exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, they insisted Tedesco should be charged criminally.
"He was 100 percent at fault for my son's death," a weeping Luigi Schettino said two months after the crash. "What are they trying to hide?"
The Schettinos are moving forward with a civil lawsuit against the Suffolk Sheriff's department, Rosenberg said.
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