Driver Charged in Death of Officer to be Arraigned Friday

Oakdale resident James Ryan faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and DWI.

James Ryan took a walk Friday morning at Nassau County Police Headquarters in Mineola.

The 25-year old Oakdale man will be arraigned this morning on charges that he was allegedly responsible for two early-morning crashes on the Long Island Expressway and in the death of Officer Joseph P. Olivieri.

He will be charged with one count of second degree vehicular manslaughter and two counts of second degree reckless endangerment. In addition, Ryan faces charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and leaving an incident without a report.  

Olivieri, 43, a 19-year veteran of law enforcement, was killed responding to a disabled motorist at exit 35 of the Long Island Expressway in North Hills early Thursday. He was struck by a 2002 Cadillac Escalade travelling eastbound in the HOV lane. 

Police said Ryan, driving a 2010 Toyota Camry, started a chain reaction of events at about 4:43 a.m. when he hit a 2008 BMW and then drove off. 

Ryan then allegedly stopped abruptly in the left lane, parallel to exit 35, and was struck by a 2005 Honda Civic, according to police. The Honda came to rest in the right lane facing westbound while Ryan’s car came to rest perpendicular to the center median. 

When Olivieri arrived, he positioned his marked patrol car in the right lane in front of the Honda.

Police said the officer exited his vehicle and crossed to the HOV lane when he and the Toyota were struck.

Judge Bjorneby set bail at $120,000 cash or bond and adjourned that case to November 8.  Ryan’s license was suspended for gross negligence in the operation of a vehicle.

Ryan is being represented by attorney Brian Davis.

Scotty October 24, 2012 at 03:27 PM
@Common Sense: NEVER. That's my response to 'how many of you have driven after 'only' 2 drinks'? AND I absolutely refuse to get behind the wheel any time I've had to take meds for my migraines, despite scorn from family and friends. THAT is common sense--not your obviously misplaced self-serving handle! How dare you downplay drunk driving and what happened to this officer and his mourning family? Every time I read another post about 'oh it isn't so bad' I know for a fact that the writer drives while impaired--routinely. It's a crime! And I don't care how often you blather about it, or excuse it, or try to pretty it up-- YOU are as dangerous on the roads as any heroin or crack user holding a loaded gun in a movie theater. I'm sick to death of excusers like you: you cost us untold BILLIONS in insurance premiums, repair costs--not to mention permanent injuries to our bodies --with the lifetimes of medical care and THOSE resultant costs to orthopedic surgeons. I'm one who's still suffering 30+ years after being a passenger in a car hit head on by a drunk driver so I know JUST what other people go through. It's long past time to jail all of you who still don't freaking get it! Common sense my butt.
Diane M. Pape October 24, 2012 at 03:37 PM
@ Scotty - no i said i "feel sad" for the young guy Ryan I understand he made a decision to drink and drive and he will pay for that we hope justice will prevail for the officers memory and his family. The convicted felon with the life that had gone on who is now on parole and disbarred yes his life goes on and yes he knew what he was doing yes he made a decision to steal, lie, etc. and is now out of prison living happliy ever after. Too many crimnals get parole. I feel sorry for the young guy Ryan yes her deserves a punishment and that will pass and he will be out on the streets just another convicted felon living amoung us
Scotty October 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I don't feel remotely 'sad' for this guy Ryan. HE's certainly old enough at 25 to know exactly what happens when driving impaired. I sure did at 18 - what's his excuse? The REAL problem is that everyone ELSE who drinks and drives treats it as either a joke, a mistake or a minor thing when it's JUST as deadly serious as someone taking a loaded gun and shooting up a crowded place. The victims are just as dead! Every day people are murdered by drunk drivers on our roads and streets and the mindset is to excuse them and to feel sorry for them because this 'minor indiscretion' is going to somehow ruin his life? NEVER a thought for the innocent victims! People need to seriously wake up and see it for exactly what it is: a personal choice to go out and kill people with a huge lethal weapon without caring about anyone but themselves or the consequences. The penalty has to fit the crime--our courts are FAR too lenient. I hope the prosecutor prevails with this guy--maybe making an example and making this jackass pay for the officer's life even in a small way will send SOME kind of message, but I'm not holding out real hope when people who also drink and drive write reams of posts defending him because they see themselves in his shoes! That's ALWAYS what it's been about...while the rest of us suffer.
Common Sense October 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Mr Ryan did NOT commit a felony. He drove with a BAC of .09 which is a misdemeanor and legal in some states. The supposed "controlled substance" in his car was his prescribed medication for ADHD. Mr Ryan did not in any way, shape or form cause the tragic death of Mr Olivieri. That falls squarely on the driver of the escalade who clearly did not see the accident ahead of him on a very well lit straight stretch of highway. One can assume he or she was speeding & distracted otherwise they easily should have had ample time to STOP THEIR VEHICLE. I can understand "Scotty's" anger issues but taking that anger out with a vengeful diatribe is not productive. Again I ask the question - if I am pulled over for speeding and someone strikes & kills the officer while giving me a ticket should I be charged with manslaughter? It is no different and the answer is NO. Only someone with a big axe to grind would think that mr Ryan should be held responsible for mr Olivieris tragic death because their anger blinds them from common sense. A perverse sense of justice it is to think mr Ryan is responsible Period.
Common Sense October 25, 2012 at 03:08 AM
P.S. - I also am a victim of a drunk driver who blew through a stop sign and broadsided me on my motorcycle.and I still suffer the injury 20 plus yrs later. I just don't carry the anger and paint with broad strokes. I am confident that common sense will prevail and the manslaughter charge will be dismissed.


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