Friends, Family Mourn Teen Struck, Killed By Suffolk Co. Sheriff’s Vehicle On L.I.E.

RONKONKOMA, NY (CBSNewYork) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an 18-year-old who was struck and killed by a Suffolk County sheriff’s vehicle on the Long Island Expressway.

The fatal crash happened just before 6 p.m. Wednesday in Ronkonkoma when authorities say 18-year-old William Schettino got out of his car after pulling over in the HOV lane.
 
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall on the story

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office said the officer, identified as 37-year-old Richard Tedesco of East Moriches, was blinded by sun glare and struck Schettino after swerving to avoid the disabled vehicle.

Schettino was taken to the hospital where he later died. Tedesco suffered minor injuries.

Madeline Higgins, best friend of the victim, holds a photo of him - Mar 15, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

Madeline Higgins, best friend of the victim, holds a photo of him - Mar 15, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

The westbound L.I.E. was closed between exits 59 and 60 for hours after the wreck. Lanes were reopened just before 1 a.m. Thursday.

Schettino’s best friends couldn’t stop crying Thursday. Hugging each other, they remembered the 18-year-old.

“He made everyone laugh. He made a difference. He was our everything,” said best friend Madeline Higgins. She said Schettino was attending college and hoped to be a clothing designer one day.

Higgins also told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall that Schettino had gotten out of his car to call 911 because someone had hit his vehicle and drove off.

“We’re very young. We don’t know what to do in those situations. It’s hard. You get scared. You’re on the L.I.E. There are cars going by like crazy,” she said.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“He was my neighbor, my cousin, my everything and now he’s gone because someone made an accident,” said his cousin Hampton Zagger.

Schettino’s friend Ashley Andrews, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera that she believes Tedesco was speeding.

“He shouldn’t be going that fast as a sheriff in an accident zone,” Andrews said.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Ashley Andrews says:

    I smell like a freshly cut onion

  2. rob says:

    how fast do you think someone has to be going in order to be sent to the hospital themselves after hitting a person no more than 140 pounds?

  3. JOHNH says:

    COPS NEVER STOP TO HELP ANY ONE THEY ARE TO BUSY ON THERE LAPTOPS IN THERE CARS DOING FACEBOOK OR CHASING THEIR GIRL FRIENDS AROUND. OR TEXTING I SAW A COP ABOUT A YEAR AGO TEXTING AND RE-END THE CAR IN FRONT OF HIM OH HOW I STAYED UNTIL THE NEXT OFFICER GOT THERE ALSO PUT DOWN IN WRITTING FOR THE DRIVER THAT THE COP WAS TEXT WHEN YOU WERE HIT BY HIM. THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO UP HOLD THE LAW AND “HELP AND PROTECT THE COMMUNITY” BE AWAER OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS “SUN GLARE” COME GIVE ME A BETTER EXCUSE….

    1. Scott says:

      So if you’re going to type in all caps to try and make your point seem really important, at least learn how to spell and use proper sentence structure. It just makes you look like an idiot.

  4. A time for tears says:

    RIP, why do all the nice kids die young? As our Sun ages and gets hotter and brighter, more fatal accidents like this will occur on the roads.

    1. Car Sun Visors says:

      Use your Sun Visors people, it’s the flap that’s located right above your head. It’s not for holding your mail or other junk–it’s a Sun Visor. Pull it down to prevent glare.

  5. The Realist says:

    Remember that, BY LAW, all cops are Officially Designated Heroes. Therefore, it is ILLEGAL to question the word of a cop or accuse any cop of anything.

    1. Common Sense says:

      It’s not illegal but its hard to do when your mouth is full of chips and you are sitting on the sofa in your parents basement.
      Lose some weight fat boy

  6. Manny says:

    sun glare? nonsense, what cop working the lie doesn’t have a good pair of sunglasses on. subpeona his cell phone for texts, where was he speeding. 4 people killed on li from being hit with cop cars last year, when will the b/s, arrogance, and cover ups end? Is anyone in charge, is there any leadership out there? Where is Chuck Schumer? Busy chasing telemarketers and computer programmers.

  7. Audrey says:

    To anyone whos rude enough to argue that the death was Billys fault or the cop was in the wrong is pathetic.Someone died here who loved life and was happy and you all have the odassedy to argue on here?
    Shame on you.

    1. Manny says:

      Your right, cops never lie. What an idiot.

  8. Susan says:

    For all the negative comments about cops, I would like to see who you call the next time something crappy happens to you. If any of you people ragging on cops have an accident, call your own tow truck and find the other driver on your own. Don’t call the cops if they are so lousy or you are afraid they’ll speed and kill you. Let them alone to help the people who respect them and appreciate what they do. As it happens, I don’t have any cops in my family, but I am still grateful for the services they perform.

    1. mike says:

      no if this cop was a good cop he would have saw a pulled over car on the LIE and helped him instead this moran did the opposite and just continued to drive coasting the live of an 18 year old kid

      1. Chris says:

        “Moran”? You should check your spelling before you insult someone else’s intelligence. It’s shame that this boy died and I feel for his family and friends, however, he should never have pulled over in the HOV lane, it’s not a breakdown lane. Other than the information you have been given about this accident, I don’t think you know what kind of an officer this man was so I don’t think you should be judging him. As someone else stated in a different post, the next time someone robs your house or breaks into your car, find the person who did it yourself, then make a citizens arrest.

    2. A concerned citizen says:

      If you read the report, the Sheriff’s deputy SWERVED to avoid hitting the car, he didn’t see the car, WHEN he swerved is when he HIT Billy. meaning he was not paying attention, couldn’t see the car in front of him, something distracted this Sheriff from seeing a car in front of him. So when he swerved is when he struck this poor boy down. The officer IS at fault in this situation for NOT being able to control his vehicle or paying attention to what is in front of him for whatever the excuse is.

  9. sean says:

    His cousin made the comment, “I would do anything to have him back with us” if only that was possible but he is in the Lord’s kind hands now. I have my own opinions on the situation but no feeling of anger or frustration at the loss of so many young people in the BBP can bring this wonderful boy back to our community.

  10. Isabel says:

    As a mother who just lost her son 2 months ago and had to endure the arrogant, ignorant and cold comments that a few people made about my son, all I can say to all of you that fall in this category is that you are not the law, you weren’t there. So stop making your careless remarks. The life of a young man is gone. Have a heart and have feelings. I feel so much for his family, and my deepest sympathy and condolences and prayers go out to this family. Nothing will console their hearts right now, but all I can say is that your beloved son, or brother, or grandson, or nephew is in heaven and in a better place now. Just like my son. PLEASE DON’T MAKE ANY MORE IGNORANT REMARKS ABOUT THIS TERRIBLE ACCIDENT AND LET THIS BOY REST IN PEACE AND HIS FAMILY MOURN IN A DIGNIFIED MANNER.

    REMEMBER NO ONE SHOULD SPIT UP IN THE AIR, IT MIGHT JUST FALL ON YOUR FACE.

    God Bless this family and all their friends

  11. Tom Cruise says:

    That’s what shoulders are for…if by any chance your car is stranded in an active travel lane, on the LIE god forbid…..DON’T GET OUT AND WAIT IN AN ACTIVE TRAVEL LANE LIKE IT WAS THE SHOULDER, WHICH IT ISN’T……… I’M SURPRISED THIS KID, AT 18, DIDN’T HAVE THE COMMON SENSE TO FIGURE THAT OUT….

    1. john says:

      screw off bro thats all you gotta say no cop should b dumb enough to not see a car and a person either way sun glare or not get the hell outta here

    2. mike says:

      you should get punched

  12. mike says:

    cops or anyone should have the common sense to know that when the sun glaire is so bad that you cant see the car in the lane ahead of you that you obviously slow down drastically put on sunglasses and if you dont have those atleast put down the sun visor and if you still cant see after that how did he pass the shriff departments eye exam. I also thought that sheriff windows were usually tinted i hope in this case that they werent. i would like to see this cop get scrwewd over like any other normal person. ooooo but wait…hes a cop

  13. Stephanie says:

    @ mike: How EXACTLY do you know the cop did NOT SLOW DOWN? I have news for you… a PEDESTRIAN can be hit by a car going at slow as 20mph and still be killed, depending on if they struck their head, or how they were hit. It could very well be that the officer slowed to 30 or 40mph. You have no idea. What exactly do you have against the Sheriff’s office out there? This was a TRAGIC ACCIDENT! The first thing kids should be taught is to NEVER EXIT THEIR VEHICLE ON A HIGHWAY, unless it’s on fire. Even if the vehicle can be hit again, you are safer inside than out.

    My prayers go out to the family of this poor boy.

    1. isaac says:

      @stephanie…i wondder how many cops you have in your family…

      1. mike says:

        really i would just like to see this cop get blamed for what he did and maybe man up to what he did because we all know the sun glaire thing is a load of BS.

        1. david says:

          I was ticketed by this cop once and I agree, he was very aggressive in his approach. He cut across lanes to get to me in a reckless manner. I am OK with the ticket but I recalled how aggressive and reckless he was.
          My thoughts and prayers goes out to this young man’s family and friends.

    2. me says:

      remember he didn’t see the car or the driver, he said he had to swerve and wound up getting in an accident himself and in the hospital. That means he wasn’t going 20 or 30 MPH.

  14. mike says:

    I was on the LIE and saw everything.The sherriff was going at least 80 mph when the crash occured.It was very surreal !!

    1. courtney says:

      did you come forward? they’re looking for people who witnessed the accident

  15. davenyusa says:

    When cops investigate cops, nothing ever happens. The dead kids parents will probably be sued by the pig who ran him down.

  16. Smelly Hippie says:

    Someone who wasn’t there believes someone who was there was speeding? With proof like that lock’em up. Why even put crap like that in the story?

    1. Goeorgie says:

      Thank You! At least you read this article right. Unlike Tiana “They are telling their feelings on what just happened to them.” Really? And where are they expressing what happened to them? Again Thank you for seeing what’s there…

  17. Checkhis Cell says:

    There has been an unusual number of incidents in suffolk county over the last 2 years, where residents have been killed by cops in automobiles, speeding in bad weather, not obeying rules of the road, driving fast, texting. This officers cell phone needs to be checked, I was driving the same time facing westm same time, if you are paying attention, you can make out a person. What cops do you know drive facing the sun without a high end pair of sunglasses on. Something doesn’t sound right here. Family should subpeona the cell records and text messages.

  18. Georgie says:

    Why are they interviewing these kids for? This article should be scraped! These 2 girls are pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Madeline Higgins said “We’re very young. We don’t know what to do in those situations. It’s hard. You get scared. You’re on the L.I.E. There are cars going by like crazy,” Is she saying her friend was too young,scared and did not know what to do also? Why is she saying that? Put that selective young and innocent trump card away Madeline. (use that when you get caught in the act of something forbidden by your Parents) And then Ashley Andrews, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera that she believes Tedesco was speeding.“He shouldn’t be going that fast as a sheriff in an accident zone,” Well Ashley just how fast was the sheriff going? Since you were there and saw it all in motion! And nobody got a look at the hit and run driver who is at fault here. Ashley? were you not looking?
    Shame on CBS for posting this article as it is…and making these 2 kids sound really stupid.
    I’m not poking fun at these 2 kids….they are hurting and in shock. Yesterday morning they had no idea what death was, until that evening. My heart goes out to the 2 families involved here. Both are shattered…..Need to catch the hit and run coward driver…..That driver has to pay…

    1. Tiana says:

      This is not the time to say these things to close family and friends. They are young, not lawyers, or reporters.They are telling their feelings on what just happened to them.

      1. Goeorgie says:

        Yeah! They are telling their feelings on what just happened to them. They were also very busy as they watched the deceased get out of his car and call 911. Get real. Get the concept of this article. All the more reason to scrap this article. you are not reading what is there. Stevie Wonder would get it…..Really…Are you very young too?

  19. 2012 says:

    There is no one to blame. Accidents happen and people die when there time is up. I’m sorry for the family but I’m sure he’s happy being home where he really, truly belongs like the rest of us.

    1. mike says:

      This cop did NOT slow down due to the conditions at the time.That stupidity resulted in someone getting killed

  20. BRIDGET SWAMBACK says:

    I THINK ITS SAD ESPECIALLY CAUSE I KNEW THE BOYS FAMILY VERY WELL. IT WAS A BAD PART ON THE BOY(BILLY) TO GET OUT OFF HIS CAR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIE. U KNOW HOW NEW YORKERS DRIVE ONE SPEED FAST,,,,. I WILL BE PRAYING FOR THE FAMILY OF THE BOY AND ALSO FOR THE SHERIFF’S FAMILY ITS GOT TO BE HARD TO SWOLLOW THAT TO THINK ONE MINUTE YOUR DRIVING AND THE NEXT YOUR LYING IN A HOSPITAL BED KNOWING YOU JUST KILLED A 18 YEAR OLD BOY..I HOPE PEOPLE WHO LOOK BACK AT THIS AND SAY IT WASN’T ANYBODYS FAULT. ITS JUST WAS SOMEONES TIME.AND NOW HES IN GODS HANDS.AMEN…

  21. Definace says:

    An elderly driver struck and killed a Trooper on a traffic stop near Buffalo. The driver said he was blinded by the sun. No charges were filed against the driver not even a traffic ticket. Why? because he was blinded by the sun and wasn’t expecting the Trooper to be there. It was an accident. Poor kid is dead but by his own careless actions.

    1. roy chopping says:

      billy he is the best cousin i ever had he was awsome he was every thing to my family…………. he started geting a life he was just getting started he was a awsome artist i hope he is in a better place now….

  22. tbotz says:

    go back to the sewer.

  23. max says:

    Bottom line is a poor young adult is dead and his family and friends are left to live with a life full of heartche and emptiness
    Show some compassion people!!

  24. T says:

    WHY DID THE TEEN GET OUT OF THE CAR? LIE IS DANGEROUS WITH SPEEDING CARS, SHOULD OF STAYED INSIDE THE VEHICLE. IF IT WASNT THE COP HITTING HIM, IT WOULD OF BEEN SOMEONE ELSE ___ SO SAD.

    1. Z says:

      At the top of that hill at exit 59, the sun glare at that time of the day heading west is very, very bad. God bless the boy who got out of his vehicle on the wrong side into traffic and God bless the officer who didn’t see him. This is why these incidents are called accidents. One life lost and another ruined.

  25. Schniff M-tookus says:

    Whoops! I guess you can’t cross a major expressway without looking both ways. Cross at the green and not in between.

  26. Rocker80 says:

    The driver should have called 911 first and stayed in the or if he was to get to stay in the HOV lane

  27. Practice What you preach says:

    It was definitely the cop to blame. Ask any cop or judge and they preach that you are to be in control of your vehicle at all times. Secondly, Why was the single occupancy police cruiser doing in the HOV lane anyway? This is a case of authorities abusing the law to their own advantage and if the sun was in his eyes he should have slowed down and been even more observant.

    1. Rocker80 says:

      can you explain how the cop is to blame when he walked out of the HOV lane?

      1. Joe Public says:

        Agree with both of you. apparently he was unable to open the driver side door, but why was the copy (most likely speeding) in the HOV lane? and look at the reporting – A Sheriff’s vehicle killed the teen ?- i am sure if it was a citizen out and about it would have been “the person’s name” driving a so and so car killed the teen…

        1. Rocker80 says:

          joe public still I am confused. He couldn’t get out the driver side door. But if he got out of the passenger side door in the front he would not have been in traffic.

          1. CT Mama says:

            The HOV lane is on the left side of the highway traffic…therefore, when he got out on the passenger side, he was stepping into the FAST / left lane of LIE traffic. The officer was likely barreling down that lane, sun in his eyes… and the last thing he expected to be in front of him was a young man. I pray for the families.

  28. nick wood says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the cop….that kid should have known better than to wander into traffic.

    1. besosmiley says:

      He didn’t. He was stranded and took all the precautions. Hazard Lights, called 911, etc, etc. don’t blame unless you know the facts.

  29. Joe Public says:

    Sounds like the dept is out fast with some PR. Classic statement from someone acting as a non-biased 3rd party. “sun glare”?! didn’t have sunglasses for driving that route on a regular basis? The sun has been around for a long time. maybe the officer was speeding or on a cell phone or changing lanes without signaling which happens nearly all the time on highways and our local streets. If they are “enforcing the law for safety” why wouldn’t they be safe??? Yes – everyone gets special treatment in any industry, but let’s keep it to a slice of pizza at the local store, not driving like a-holes…

    1. Robert Paul Hohn says:

      Could not agree more with you. I would place a LARGE bet on the fact that Tedesco was speeding.

      It’s terrible that this happend and I hope Tedesco is treated like an average citizen, rather than given special treatment.

    2. Highway Driver says:

      I agree, those cops constantly abuse the system. Always speeding, talking on cell phones, changing lanes without indicating etc. This driver should have stayed in his car, but these cops are the ones to blame. What kind of example are they trying to set for all other drivers, its time to get cops to catch the cops that break the law daily. I drive about 600 miles a week for work and have seen it all. I am shocked at the corruption that go goes on in the police force. To end off i’d like to say “thank you” to the cops that ARE sensible and law abiding.

      1. AC says:

        In NYS, emergency vehicles (Police, Fire, EMS) are exempt from the VTL (Vehicle & Traffic Law). Funny how you can take a known fact (kid left his car on a major highway) and still somehow insist that an unknown assumption (driver was speeding) is the reason for the accident. Its the LIE, and whether that driver was traveling 55 mph or 75mph, the kid was still standing in the path of vehicles and still would have gotten hit. He will be treated like “an average citizen”. He was driving a vehicle down an expressway (for motor vehicles) and due to glare from the sun, he was unable to see a human being standing in the roadway. You, or I, or anyone else in that scenario would not face criminal charges unless it could be proved that the operator of that motor vehicle intentionally struck the pedestrian. On an expressway, a pedestrian has no expectation of safety as he or she would in lets say, a crosswalk or street. A driver is required to do anything they can reasonably do to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, but sometimes things are unavoidable.

        1. Highway Driver says:

          In case you were interested this is a quote from someone called mike on this accident: “I was on the LIE and saw everything.The sherriff was going at least 80 mph when the crash occured.It was very surreal !!” so the assumption was right. i was out in suffolk a couple of weeks ago and personally witnessed how those cops speed well above the limit. they should not be speeding at all but if there was sun glare then what was this cop thinking?

  30. Mr Ewing says:

    This was just driver inexperience.Everyone knows you pull over to the shoulder and always better to stay in car.The HOV lane on LIE is always dangerous and with the sun if it was not a cop car that hit him it would of been someone else.Sad only 18 but hopefully this can prevent this from happening again

    1. courtney says:

      does no one read? he couldn’t pull over. his car was IMMOBILE.

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