EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The police officer involved in a fatal crash on the Long Island Expressway Friday night was remembered by fellow officers and his community Saturday. Police have also charged a Connecticut man with homicide in the death.
Officer Michael J. Califano, a 12-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department, was killed after an accident that occured around 10:55 p.m. Friday involving a a flatbed truck and a police car on the westbound lane of the Expressway between Exit 40 and Exit 39 in Old Westbury.
Detectives said Califano was conducting a vehicle and traffic law stop and was sitting in his car with lights blinking. That’s when the flatbed truck struck the officer’s car from behind. The officer’s car ended up under the stopped box truck and was crushed, trapping the officer inside.
Responders had to cut the car in order to rescue Califano and rushed him to Nassau University Medical Center, where the officer died as a result of the collision.
Police have charged the driver — identified as 25-year-old John Kaley, of New Britain, Connecticut — with criminally negligent homicide, third-degree assault and failing to move over for an emergency vehicle.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said the officer’s death was a great loss to the county and lauded Califano was “one of our best.”
Fellow officers said they felt privileged to have worked with Califano.
“The nicest compliment you could pay Mike is that he was a soft-spoken gentleman. Always had a smile on his face. Never had a mean thing to say about anybody. It was just a pleasure to be friends with and work next to for a bunch of years,” one colleague said.
“It crushes you, you know? You wake up in the morning, you turn your phone on, and you see a message come over that you lost a friend over something tragic like that,” fellow Officer Carl Tedeschi told CBS 2′s Lou Young. “It’s very, very upsetting.”
Three others were injured. They included two people who were in the box truck and a female passenger in the flatbed truck. All were being treated at a hospital.
Flags at Nassau County buildings were being flown at half-staff in honor of Califano.
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