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Cops: Driver in crash that killed girl violates probation

Stephen Catalano arrives at Riverhead Criminal Court in

Stephen Catalano arrives at Riverhead Criminal Court in April 2008 after being held on bail in connection with the motor vehicle accident that killed Angelica Nappi, 14, and injured other teenagers in Medford crash in February. (April 16, 2008) Credit: James Carbone

A Selden man who authorities say killed a 14-year-old girl while driving without a license last year was arrested this week after he violated the terms of his probation, police said.

Stephen Catalano, 39, of Elmwood Avenue, was arrested by Suffolk County police warrant enforcement officers at the home of relatives at 7:47 p.m. Tuesday.

In the past several weeks Catalano had failed to complete a substance abuse treatment program, had tested positive for heroin, and stopped reporting to his probation officer, said John Desmond, director of probation for Suffolk County.

A bench warrant was issued for Catalano on Sept. 30.

He was ordered held on bail of $50,000 cash or $200,000 bond and is scheduled to be back in court Wednesday.

A relative, reached by phone Wednesday, declined to comment.

Catalano was on 5 years' probation for criminally negligent homicide following the three-car crash on Feb. 19, 2008, in North Bellport that killed Angelica Nappi, 14, of Holbrook.

Nappi was one of five girls, including three sisters, in a car headed to the movies when it was hit by a Jeep driven by Catalano near the intersection of County Road 101 and Woodside Avenue at 12:18 p.m.

The crash injured 10 people.

Nappi died three days after the crash from brain injuries.

Police said Catalano was driving without a license.

His attorney has said Catalano was driving 55 mph in a 40 mph zone at the time of the crash, but that should not have triggered the charge of criminally negligent homicide. Such charges are filed when a person engages in blameworthy conduct so serious that it creates or contributes to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that another person's death occurs.

Catalano had seven prior convictions for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, according to state records.

He was sentenced in January to 6 months and 5 years probation, and his license was revoked for a year, police said.

Nappi's mother said she was saddened by the alleged parole violations.

"I'm really disheartened because I thought this accident would have helped him reform. I don't think jail is the right answer," said Dawn Nappi, of Holbrook. "I'm just hoping he gets the help he needs."

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