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Man Convicted in Chain Reaction Crash

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Jonathan Hernandez2 years ago

NBC News New York is reporting on a man that was convicted in a chain reaction accident that killed a police officer.

Details about the Conviction

On Thursday, a man from Long Island was convicted of triggering a motor-vehicle accident that ended in the death of a police officer, even though the man that was convicted never actually hit the officer. 

James Ryan was found guilty of 10 out of 13 potential charges by the Nassau County jury. The man was, however, acquitted of the most serious charge – the aggravated vehicular homicide charge.

According to prosecutors, Officer James Oliveri’s death in October of 2012 was the direct result of Ryan’s reckless driving since it caused a chain-reaction accident that ultimately killed Officer Oliveri.

Ryan was convicted on charges including reckless endangerment, vehicular manslaughter, aggravated criminally negligent homicide, and drunken driving. The Toyota that Ryan was driving along the Long Island Expressway hit a BMW, which was then hit by another car. Moments later, an SUV driver smashed into Ryan’s Toyota before ultimately hitting and killing Officer Oliveri.

Maureen McCormick, an Assistant District Attorney, said in a closing statement that Ryan as driving recklessly, drunk, and wildly, and turned the Long Island into his own drunken “speedway.” Ryan’s attorney acknowledged that Ryan was indeed driving with a blood alcohol level of .13 – higher than the state’s legal limit of .08.

The case has been specifically and closely watched by legal experts who agreed that it was rare for someone other than the driver directly involved to be charged. The charges against Ryan, however, were based on the belief of the prosecutors that Ryan should have been able to foresee the outcome of his actions that happened while he was driving drunk.

Ryan is now in custody pending a sentencing hearing.

Important Information about Drunk Driving in New York

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • In 2014, there were a total of 7,849 crashes that were reported to police that involved alcohol or a drunk driver.
  • Out of those crashes that were reported to the police, there were 292 fatalities – most of which were drivers.
  • Of those 292 fatalities, 71 of them were pedestrians – like Officer Oliveri who was killed in October 2012.


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