James Ryan Sentenced In Fatal Wantagh State Parkway DWI Crash

Friends, Family Of Matthew Scarpati Not Pleased With Sentence Of 3-9 Years

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.”

Do you think the sentence was fair? Let us know below…

  • mg

    Ryan is brain damaged from his own irresponsible actions

  • gino

    i guess none of you phonys never drove drunk,ryan is brain damaged and gets to do prison time,leaves 3 kids behind,yeah he got over.

    • Tax Churches Now

      He should be executed as should any DUI driver responsible for a serious injury accident. And you should be fried right along with him, you illiterate piece of trash. If corrupt, greedy, lazy, ludicrously overpaid LI “public safety” officers didn’t spend all their time writing revenue tickets for simple speeding, they would catch more drunks and save more lives. Our incompetent DA’s and Judges should require the same proportion of tickets be written for DUI vs simple speeding as fatal accident stat ratios. But like you, they’re usually drugged and drunk too so unlikely.

      • gino

        executed you

        • Gino Sux

          Hey GiNO!!! I thought you said HE was brain damaged. Contagious? I can only hope the cops read these comments, you are as stupid as you sound and used a real name or nickname, and they review “known associates”, track you and put you in prison with him the next time you drive drunk and stoned you useless piece of sociopathic flotsam and jetsam.

          • Old Testament Karma

            …and may all the children of Gino and Ryan be killed by drunk drivers before they can reproduce these bad genes.

  • rumpelstiltskin

    what a turkey he is for driving drunk

  • DG

    DCLaw-1 expressed it all for me… I am the mother of a beloved son, who was killed by an unlicensed, drunk driver..Wantagh Pkwy April 30,2011…My prayers are not enough to heal the heartache…Thank you DCLaw-1 must also include no right to an appeal….

  • Jerry

    Ironically the type of cable barrier installed after this accident has recently been deemed inefficient to stop a car.???

  • mg

    The law is too forgiving to intoxicated drivers. Until the penalties change for more severe sentences, we will continue to hear of other innocent victims losing their life . A minimum of a 15 year sentence must be the law. At least the reckless driver gets a 2nd chance at life when the sentence is over. The victim NEVER will !!!!!

  • None Of Your Business

    I think the motorcylist murderer should be fried in the electric chair.

  • Chrisie

    I had no clue a Harley Davidson was capabale of those kinds of speeds. My prayers are with the family. How come it is always the drunks that walk away?

  • RR

    The penalties for DWI are totally insufficient. First offense should be an automatic one year no plea bargaining. With an injury or death to another party lets start at a minimum of 10 years. And I do feel that this is liberal.

  • DCLaw-1

    The distinction between vehicular homicide and second degree murder needs to be legistalively erased. When choosing to operate a vehicle under the influence, a driver demonstrates a gross and reckless disregard for human life. Such a driver should be charged, tried, and sentenced accordingly. Anything less than 15 years is a disgrace, the law needs to be amended so as not to memorialize a lesser concern for a criminal that kills with a car, than a criminal that kills with a gun or other means.

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