A man accused of causing a fatal drunk driving crash in Nassau County, New York, has been cleared of major charges in connection with the matter. The defendant, age 26, was accused of aggravated vehicular homicide for his role in the crash, in addition to several other criminal counts related to the October 2012 wreck. The collision killed a police officer.
A judge in the case determined that the death of the officer was solely caused by another driver who struck the victim's vehicle. Defense attorneys in the case say that the man and his family members are relieved to finally have the more severe charges dismissed. Still, the judge in the case made it clear that the driver will still face legal proceedings for other car accidents he may have caused that night.
Official reports show that the driver may have caused two other collisions on the Long Island Expressway that evening, as he is accused of striking one car, then causing a rear-end collision when he attempted to stop. The officer who died at the scene was attempting to assist the alleged drunk driver when he was struck by another vehicle. Although the defendant had caused the wrecks that prompted the officer's response, he was not behind the wheel of the vehicle that actually struck the policeman. That driver's actions were not deemed to be criminal.
The prosecution is planning an appeal.
News reports indicate that the defendant in this case could have faced up to 25 years' prison time for the aggregate charges against him. Now, he is only facing a maximum seven-year prison sentence; the highest charge he faces is assault in the injury of an off-duty police officer. That off-duty officer was in one of the vehicles he struck before the second officer arrived.
The outcome of this phase of the intoxicated driving case definitely favored the defendant, as his defense attorneys were able to prove that he was not responsible for the officer's death. Qualified drunk-driving attorneys protect and defend their clients' rights throughout the criminal process, educating them about their options and working to maximize the outcome of the criminal cases.
Source: Newsday, "Judge dismisses top charges in crash that killed Nassau cop Joseph Olivieri" Bridget Murphy, Dec. 17, 2013