Manslaughter charge in cop's crash death

A three-car accident early Sunday left an off-duty

A three-car accident early Sunday left an off-duty police officer dead and shut down the eastbound lanes of the Southern State Parkway. (Sept. 11, 2011) (Credit: Paul Mazza)

An off-duty New York City police officer killed Sunday on the Southern State Parkway, allegedly by a drunken driver, was a fun-loving disc jockey in his spare time and recently moved from Brooklyn to Massapequa to be closer to his girlfriend, his family said Monday.

Kevin Jessup, 25, joined the city force in July 2008 and was assigned to the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park, Queens.

He was driving east on the Southern State near Bethpage State Parkway about 5:35 a.m. Sunday when his car was rear-ended by another vehicle, state police said. Jessup was killed and his girlfriend, Crystal Simons, 30, of Valley Stream, was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center.

The hospital said Monday that she was in satisfactory and stable condition.

The driver of the other car, Jonathan Lopez, 20, of 314 Elmore Ave., East Meadow, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and other crimes. Judge David McAndrews set $100,000 cash bail, or $50,000 bond alternative, at Lopez's arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead Monday.

Lopez was treated for minor injuries and released to police custody.

Defense attorney Fred Pollack did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the charges.

Jessup's brother, Keith, 21, said Kevin was "a fun-loving guy. He was very family-oriented. He would never do anything wrong, and that was why he became a police officer."

The terror attacks of 2001 "were a motivating factor for my brother to become a police officer. It was something he talked about," Keith Jessup added. He said his brother was on vacation Sunday and not working on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Kevin Jessup was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where his family still lives, attended Transit Tech High School, and worked at Kennedy Airport for two years before joining the NYPD. He moved to Massapequa about three months ago, his brother said.

"We always hung out together," Keith Jessup said. "We would hang out at the movies. Just to have him taken away like this -- my whole family is just, I don't know."

He said his brother loved music and had worked parties as a disc jockey.

State police said Jessup was driving a Nissan Maxima east on the parkway when he was struck by a second Nissan operated by Lopez, whose car then rear-ended another vehicle operated by Dawn Smallwood of Melville. Smallwood was treated at a hospital and released.

State Police said anyone who witnessed the accident could contact them at 631-756-3300.

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