Trial Against DWI Driver for Homicide of P.O. Joseph Olivieri Set for January
James Ryan, 28, faces up to 25 years in prison
MINEOLA, N.Y. – According to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that County Court Judge Philip Grella issued a decision upholding the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence after conducting a pre-trial hearing that concluded on September 30, 2015, in the aggravated vehicular homicide case against James Ryan.
The prosecution announced their readiness to try this case immediately, but the defense requested an adjournment until January 6, 2016, to obtain a complete collision reconstruction report from their expert.
On October 18, 2012, at 4:43 a.m. it is alleged that James Ryan was driving while intoxicated on the Long Island Expressway when he struck the back of a 2008 BMW causing the wheel to break and the BMW to become disabled while the defendant fled the scene toward exit 35, Shelter Rock Road. Ryan then collided with a 2005 Honda, seriously injuring its driver and causing his car to come to rest against the concrete center divider.
Thirteen-year veteran Nassau County Highway Patrol Bureau Police Officer Joseph Olivieri responded to the collision and within minutes was struck and killed by another motorist while he was tending to the drivers and the road was being closed down.
The defendant was indicted April 3, 2013.
After that, the indictment was dismissed as legally insufficient by the Hon. Jerald Carter on December 16, 2013, The District Attorney’s Office appealed the dismissal to the Appellate Division Second Department, which reinstated the indictment on February 4, 2015. The defense sought leave to argue before the Court of Appeals which was denied May 7, 2015.
The defense attempted to reargue the leave application that was also denied on July 28, 2015, exhausting all of the defense pre-trial appellate applications. “This prosecution represents the first time a DWI driver is being charged with an officer’s death under these circumstances, and I believe it is essential that we take on this unique fight for Police Officer Joseph Olivieri and his fellow officers who continue to be endangered by the criminal acts of others,” Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Officer Olivieri was killed in the line of duty because James Ryan was committing a crime when he drove drunk, crashed and fled the scene and those criminal acts put Officer Olivieri directly in harm’s way.”
Assistant District Attorneys Maureen McCormick and Michael Bushwack of Acting DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Ryan is represented by Marc Gann and Zeena Abdi, Esqs.The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.