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James Ryan Sentenced In Fatal Wantagh State Parkway DWI Crash

Friends, Family Of Matthew Scarpati Not Pleased With Sentence Of 3-9 Years
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Lynn and James Scarpati came to James Ryan's sentencing with photo of son Matthew (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Lynn and James Scarpati came to James Ryan’s sentencing with photo of son Matthew (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New Hyde Park man who admitted driving his motorcycle drunk in a crash that killed a Dix Hills teenager has been sentenced to up to nine years in prison.

James Ryan, 46, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and DWIcharges in August. His father, a retired police officer, advised his son to plead guilty and apologized to the Scarpati family. The judge sentenced Ryan to 3-9 years on Wednesday. The victim’s family wanted more prison time, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“He murdered my brother and this drunk-driving business that is going on has to stop,” brother Christopher Scarpati said.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports from court

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports Ryan said nothing at his sentencing.

Prosecutors said Ryan was driving his 2002 Harley-Davidson motorcycle northbound on the Wantagh State Parkway in June 2009 when he lost control and left the roadway. The crash killed 19-year-old Matthew Scarpati, who had stopped in the bike path to fix a flat tire on his bike on a path adjacent to the roadway.

Prosecutors said the motorcycle was going between 85 and 100 mph when it crashed. Ryan also suffered severe injuries in the crash, including a traumatic brain injury. He was deemed competent to stand trial in February.

Scarpati’s mother, Lynn, described Ryan as a terrorist who used his motorcycle like a missile.

“We are shattered,” Lynn Scarpati said. “We aren’t the same family that we were before. A piece is missing and it will always be missing.”

Matthew Scarpati was described as a renaissance man, an avid reader, writer, philosopher and chef with incredible athletic skills and a brilliant future. Shortly after his death, 600 of Scarpati’s friends lobbied legislators to fund a guardrail between the parkway and bike path. It was recently installed in his memory not far from Jones Beach, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“He was the most interesting individual that you would ever meet. The world will never be able to replace him. He was perfect and the best friend that I could have ever had,” Daniel Silver said.

“Matthew Scarpati was a vibrant young man with a bright future in front of him before James Ryan’s reckless decision to drink and drive took his life,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “This tragedy is yet another example of the consequences that can come from drunk driving.”

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