Bail Set For Truck Driver Accused In L.I. Cop’s Death

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A truck driver accused of falling asleep at the wheel and killing a Long Island police officer appeared in court Tuesday the same day a wake was to be held for the fallen officer. Bail was set at $90,000 bond or $47,500 cash for John Kaley.

Police said Kaley, 25, fell asleep behind the wheel on the Long Island Expressway Friday night when his flat bed truck slammed into Officer Michael Califano’s patrol car after he had pulled over to do a vehicle and traffic stop.

It was revealed in court that the Connecticut man had no signs of alcohol in his system at the time of the wreck. Attorney William Petrillo called the crash an accident, not a crime.

“There’s no allegation at all in this case of any alcohol involvement, there’s no allegation at all of any drugs, this is simply a car accident that resulted in a death,” Petrillo said. “It’s a horrible tragedy, but it is not a crime; there is no criminal conduct in this case at all.”

Kaley is charged with criminally negligent homicide. Kaley is due back in court on Feb. 23.

PBA President James Carver, who was in court with about two dozen police officers, was upset after bail was reduced for Kaley.

“This individual is going to be set free to go on with his life while Michael’s family is going to have to sit there and deal with this,” Carver said.

On Tuesday on the Wantagh street where Officer Califano lived, in the Seaford church community where he celebrated and volunteered and at his wake in Massapequa there was nothing but sorrow and sadness.

“Politicians, dignitaries, we have people from the neighborhoods, everybody is out here because it hits home for everybody,” Nassau County Police Officer James McDermott told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

There was heartbreak and anger, too, over the loss of a brave father of three, dedicated husband and protector of the public.

Officer Califano’s funeral will be held Thursday at the Maria Regina Church in Seaford.

Califano lived with his wife Jacqueline and his three boys—ages 6 to 13 years old. Califano began his career with the Nassau County police department in 1998 he was 44 years old.

More from Jennifer McLogan
  • Loriann

    What a horrible thing to have happened and yes it is just as bad to fall asleep behind the wheel as it is to drive drunk because you are endangering people’s lives. And what the Freakin girlfriend was in the truck also! Was she asleep also?? Whoever thinks this is not a crime is very wrong and he should be punished for what he did.My deepest condolances to his wife and children and Mother and Father and siblings. This is so sad.

  • Loud

    Cmon, let’s get off the “its about a cop rant”. The public outcry would be the same if this a was a mother and three small kids, or a combat vet just back from Iraq, or a sixteen year old girl who just got a license. WHO was killed is just a media grab line. The point is that the truck driver had a legal obligation to slow down amd move over, which he could not do because he was asleep and he negligently slammed in to the police car. No matter how you slice it, he IS responsible for the consequences of his negligence. And remember, Negligence leads to culpability, but it does not neccessarily mean INTENT. No on thinks this guy intened to kill anyone, but that does not mean you have no responsibility…he is negligent and he IS responsiblie.

  • deanne

    My grandfather was killed when another driver fell asleep at the wheel. The driver only received a reckless driving ticket. OH WAIT. My grandfather wasn’t a cop.

  • Mr. Armenia

    The only reason Mr. Kaley is being charged is because he crashed into a cop.

    • Johnny


  • copbuddy

    you know what. i come from knowing buddies in the nassau county pd and this is a tragedy. This was though a horrible event, the guy should not spend the rest of his life in prison. the guilt will hurt him. i feel like its being thrown at him because he killed a cop. give him time but not that much time

  • Ret. NCPD

    For those of you who think this was a simple “accident”, maybe you think he should be charged with nothing, set free, keep his job, and be allowed do this over and over again. Let him drive whenever he is too tired, because after all, it was just an “accident” not a really bad decision with a horrible, tragic outcome. Maybe next time he has an “accident” with his huge truck you or someone you love will be in front of him. And if that happens, let’s let him go again, because it was only an accident.

    My deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Police Officer Michael J Califano. RIP brother.

  • Cops wife

    I’m a cop’s wife, and this story hits home. The truck driver was negligent, and should be prosecuted. The sentence should be decided according to the law. If the law says he pays money to the family and loses his license or if it says he goes to jail for a while, than that’s what the law is. The point is, this should be decided in the courts.
    You don’t get to kill someone – cop or otherwise – and go on like nothing happened.

  • Larry Schwarz

    If he fell asleep at the wheel as he admits that’s drowsy driving.He should have had the common sense to stop,take a short cat nap,have a cup of coffee.I’m not an attorney.I don’t know if this is an issue for civil court or criminal court,or both.I do know that someone is dead because oh this mans negligence,and someone has to be accountable.

  • j9

    It is a frightening precedent to set where a fatal accident is prosecuted as a crime. This is clearly retalitory because of the fact that a police officer was killled. It is truly tragic and we mourn for the loss, but the overvealous prosecution is very scary for the average civiian.

  • Ct towman

    Let him rot

  • SadSadSad

    This is an accident. The only reason this guy is being charged with a crime is because a cop was killed. Sad all around, but GIVE THIS GUY A BREAK and the TAXPAYERS. He should not be in jail. Accidents happen. This is an over zealous district attorney and PBA.

  • Mr KnowItAll

    I feel sad for the cop, but this was clearly an accident. Why is this man even in jail? Just because a police office died, doesnt mean that they have to nail this guy. It was a freak accident.

  • Kris

    Just because something may be an accident doesn’t mean it can’t also be a crime. The fact that you don’t know that means you don’t know the law and probably shouldn’t be commenting on it.

  • Daniel P

    I think that this was an accident and nit a crime, and that the man should not have been criminally charged.

  • Bridget

    He is charge with criminally negligent homicide. As a truck driver you have the responsibility to only drive a certain amount of hours a day. The fact that he kept driving while tired and did not pull over to sleep makes him very negligent

    • Francis Sager

      Depends on what kind of operation the trucker was in. A trucker in interstate commerce is allowed to drive 11 hours in a 14 hour window after a 10 hour break,nor can they work more than 70 hours over a rolling 8 day period. Nothing reported here indicates his log book shows he was in violation of these rules.

      If he is a “short haul” driver, the 14 hour duty window can be extended to 16 hours, and if he’s what is called “100 air mile radius driver” who is operating within 100 nautical mile radius of his normal work reporting location, then no record of duty status is required to be kept by the driver, but his employer must keep time records and still abide by the previously mentioned.

      The only way this driver was criminally negligent was if he violated the hours of service rules and knowingly operated the truck fatigued. The motor carrier can also face liability if they knowingly dispatched a fatigued driver.

      Federal Hours of Service rules can be found at The applicable federal regulation is 49 CFR Part 395

  • liwingnut

    Tell me what type of crime this is ? If it’s true that he fell asleep then it’s an accident not a crime….Sad situation but every time a cop gets hurt or killed does not mean someone has to end up in jail…

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