Officials: NYPD cop from LI dies in crash

A three-car accident left the eastbound Southern State

A three-car accident left the eastbound Southern State Parkway closed between Bethpage Parkway Exit 31 and Route 110 Exit 32. (Sept. 11, 2011) (Credit: Paul Mazza)

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An off-duty New York City police officer from Massapequa was killed Sunday morning after being rear-ended by a drunken driver on the Southern State Parkway, police said.

The accident involved three cars and shut down the highway eastbound for hours, police said.

State Police said the officer, Kevin Jessup, 25, was driving a Nissan Maxima east when he was struck by a second Nissan operated by Jonathan Lopez, 20, of 314 Elmore Ave.,  East Meadow.

Lopez then rear-ended a second vehicle operated by Dawn Smallwood of Melville, police said. Jessup and his passenger, Crystal Simons, 30, of Valley Stream, were taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where Jessup was pronounced dead. Simons was admitted for nonlife-threatening injuries. Smallwood was treated and released, officials said.

Lopez was treated and released into police custody, police said. Lopez was charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, two counts of third-degree assault and speeding, officials said.

Kevin Jessup's father, Ron Jessup of Brooklyn, said his son was deeply loved by many and had joined the NYPD because of Sept. 11. For him to die the same day as the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Jessup said, made his son's death even harder to take.

"Unbelievable," said Jessup, 49. "This is so ironic. It's just overwhelming."

The crash closed the parkway's eastbound lanes until 2:50 p.m.

South Farmingdale Fire Department Chief Edward Purpora said of the 5:35 a.m. crash: "When we arrived, one vehicle was upside down. One was in the woods, cut in half. The third vehicle was rear-ended about 200 yards down from the initial accident, they hit it so hard."

The crash occurred on the border of Babylon and Oyster Bay towns. Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to contact the New York State Police at 631-756-3300.

With Will Van Sant

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