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Documents reveal efforts to help officer hit on LIE

Nassau County police, early on in the investigation

Nassau County police, early on in the investigation of the fatal accident Thursday which left highway patrol Officer Joseph Olivieri dead, on the eastbound LIE in North Hills. (Oct. 18, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

As Nassau highway patrolman Joseph Olivieri lay trapped beneath the Cadillac sport utility vehicle that had just struck him, several passersby tried in vain to save his life.

They managed to reverse the Escalade that had crashed into Olivieri and another car in the predawn darkness Thursday on the Long Island Expressway.

A tractor-trailer driver -- a former firefighter and one of the passersby who had stopped at the crash scene -- then tried to resuscitate the officer.

But the injuries were too grievous: at 5:24 a.m., Olivieri, 43, was pronounced dead at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

The efforts were detailed in court documents obtained Friday that also explained how police believe the four-vehicle wreck occurred.

The chain of events that ended with the officer's death began 41 minutes earlier and about a half-mile west of Exit 35 in North Hills when a Toyota Camry driven by James Ryan, 25, of Oakdale, crashed into the driver's side rear bumper and wheel of a black 2008 BMW 750 driven by Kundan Kumar, disabling Kumar's vehicle.

"Very dumb" and too fast is how Kumar described the Toyota driver to officers, the documents say.

"Very visible" tire marks traced the Toyota's path next.

Near Exit 35, Ryan braked -- "an abrupt panic-type braking" -- and a red 2007 Honda sedan driven by Edward J. Wilson struck the Toyota's right-side rear fender.

Ryan exited the Toyota after it came to rest on the left side of the road.

"The defendant was outside his car and visibly agitated, yelling and screaming about the damage to his vehicle and how it was going to be a lot of money to repair it," the records say of Ryan, who now faces charges that include vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving.

The tractor-trailer driver, Frank Testagrose, and at least two other passersby stopped. A short time later, Olivieri, who had been on the force 13 years, arrived and parked in the right slow lane, turned his emergency lights on and walked to the Toyota, the records say.

He was standing near the wrecked car when the Cadillac, driven by Francis Hinds-Belizaire, tried in vain to avoid the Toyota.

But Olivieri "is struck as the Toyota is also impacted," the document said.

Nassau police spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack said Friday that the highway lights "were off where the fatal accident occurred" before and after the crash, and may have been a factor.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, which maintains the road, said "no information or complaints" were received about the lights being out at the time of the crash.

Only Olivieri and Ryan went to hospitals; the other victims declined treatment. Ryan was complaining of neck pain.

Hinds-Belizaire, who is not facing charges, and Testagrose declined to comment. Kumar and Wilson couldn't be reached.

With Sarah Crichton, Keith Herbert, Joseph Mallia, William Murphy and Olivia Winslow

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