Nassau County Police Officer Joseph Olivieri was killed last Thursday while investigating a series of crashes on the Long Island Expressway.
The officer had been on the eastbound LIE shortly before 5 a.m. He was investigating after an alleged drunken driver crashed into one car and then was struck by another vehicle moments later.
Olivieri was a 13-year Nassau police veteran.
James Ryan, 25, reportedly had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.09, slightly above the legal limit of 0.08, according to his attorney, Brian Davis. In addition to vehicular manslaughter and DWI, Ryan was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a controlled substance. A criminal complaint said Ryan had one pill for the drug Adderall when he was searched.
Davis said his client had a prescription for the stimulant, which is prescribed mainly for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ryan was released on bond.
The attorney said Friday that he would have to investigate legal precedents for charging his client with manslaughter.
"It's a very unfortunate situation," Davis said. "But it's far too simplistic to say that but for my client this would not have happened. There were intervening events between the accident and the officer being struck."
A spokesman for the district attorney did not immediately comment.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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