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Nassau cop Joseph Olivieri remembered as 'a great guy, a great officer'

Nassau County Officer Joseph Olivieri, who was Cop

Nassau County Officer Joseph Olivieri, who was Cop of the Month in March 2003, has been identified by Nassau County and police sources as the highway patrol officer who was fatally struck in the line of duty Oct. 18, 2012, on the LIE. Credit: NCPD, 2003

The energetic officer who was always first on the scene. The jokester who liked to trade good-natured barbs with fellow officers. The dedicated cop -- forever ready to help out.

For a second day, friends and family continued to pour into the Ronkonkoma Fire Department to pay their respects and trade memories of fallen Nassau Police Officer Joseph Olivieri, who was struck and killed by a passing sport utility vehicle Thursday after responding to a car accident on the Long Island Expressway.

"He was the Energizer Bunny; he just kept going and going," Officer Robert Delsignore said Sunday. Both belonged to the department's Highway Patrol unit. "He was a very active cop, with a very strong sense of responsibility."

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Ronkonkoma, followed by a burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.

Olivieri, a 13-year veteran of the department from Middle Island, was struck on the LIE in North Hills as he was responding to a car wreck caused by an alleged drunken driver. James Ryan, 25, of Oakdale, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and other crimes associated with the crash.

"He was a great guy, a great officer, one of the first guys on the scene," said Officer Spiro Vouthas, who worked alongside Olivieri for the past five years.

Several officers said the accident should serve as a warning to motorists to slow down and stick to the speed limit when driving on the LIE.

"There's no such thing as a routine call," said retired Nassau Police Officer Peter Lambert. "He was just doing his job. It's sad to see one of your brothers pass away."

Officer Michael Lambert said Olivieri's sharp sense of humor will be missed.

"He had a quick wit and was a funny guy who made everyone laugh," Lambert said. "It's hard to believe he's no longer with us."

Olivieri, 43, is survived by two children, Amanda, 21, and Daniel, 18.

Vouthas said inside of the funeral hall that Olivieri's family "seemed to be holding up."

"You see them and every now and then they'll smile and you think 'maybe they're remembering a good thought about Joe,' " Vouthas said.

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