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James Ryan case: Jurors yet to reach verdict related to death of Officer Joseph Olivieri

James Ryan leaves the Nassau County Courthouse as

James Ryan leaves the Nassau County Courthouse as jury begins deliberations in his trial on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Jurors didn’t reach a verdict Wednesday on the second day of deliberations in the aggravated vehicular homicide trial of an Oakdale man charged with causing a Nassau County police officer’s death.

The Mineola panel deliberated for most of the day in the trial of James Ryan, 28, who prosecutors contend turned the Long Island Expressway “into his own drunken speedway” on Oct. 18, 2012, setting off a chain of events that caused Officer Joseph Olivieri Jr.’s death.

Jurors on Wednesday asked the judge to read back a number of the charges in the 13-count indictment.

On Tuesday they had asked to see evidence photos, to have the statute on the top criminal count against Ryan explained again, and to have most of the testimony of witness Edward Wilson read back. They also asked which charges relate to whether Wilson suffered serious physical injury.

Prosecutors have alleged Ryan got drunk at a Manhattan lounge before speeding on the LIE and crashing into a BMW. They contend he then kept driving before slamming on his Toyota Camry’s brakes and causing Wilson, an off-duty NYPD detective, to rear-end his car.

Testimony has shown Olivieri responded to an accident call near Exit 35 in North Hills and crossed LIE lanes on foot to reach Ryan’s car. The veteran highway patrolman was then struck and fatally injured by a different motorist, Francis Belizaire, 50, of Bay Shore. Prosecutors decided Belizaire’s actions weren’t criminal and he got immunity after testifying before a grand jury.

The defense has conceded Ryan was driving drunk and caused the first crash, but claims Wilson caused the second crash and that Belizaire is solely responsible for Olivieri’s death.

Deliberations continue Thursday morning.


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