Oakdale man convicted in Nassau officer death to be freed

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OAKDALE -

James Ryan, of Oakdale, who was convicted of driving drunk and setting off a sequence of crashes that killed a Nassau police officer, was released from prison today, according to Newsday.

Officer Joseph Olivieri died in 2012 when he was struck and killed by the driver of a black SUV while responding to two other auto accidents on the Long Island Expressway near Exit 35.

MORE: Court vacates most serious charges against driver in Nassau officer’s death

Ryan, 31, who did not strike Olivieri, was convicted in 2016 of manslaughter, vehicular homicide and other charges. He was sentenced to more than five years in prison. His most serious charges were vacated yesterday.

“I really felt it was an injustice that he was convicted of them in the first place,” said Ryan’s attorney Marc Gann.

The state Supreme Court said too much time passed between the accident caused by Ryan and the one that caused Olivieri's death.

“There were two separate accidents and accident scenes here,” said Gann. “The first involving the fender-bender and the rear-end collision and the second, seven to 10 minutes later that, unfortunately, resulted in the death of Officer Olivieri.

Nassau PBA President James McDermott condemned the court's decision saying, "I'm disappointed with the outcome. A police officer's life was lost due to his negligence and my heart goes out to the Olivieri family."

The Nassau District Attorney's Office also tells News 12 it is disappointed with the court's decision and are reviewing its options to appeal.

Ryan had been serving his time at Collins Correctional Facility near Buffalo.

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