RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A sea of blue is expected to dominate Ronkonkoma, as a police officer killed on the Long Island Expressway is laid to rest.
To accommodate the wake for Nassau Patrol Officer Joseph Olivieri, Suffolk County police have advised that there will be periodic closures along Ronkonkoma Avenue, Hawkins Avenue and Pond Road between County Road 16 and Express Drive North in Ronkonkoma between 9 a.m. and approximately 2 p.m.
EXTRA: Traffic And Transit
Suffolk County police also cautioned that traffic is expected to be heavier than normal during those hours and urged residents to use alternate routes.
The funeral will be held at St. Joseph Church, at 45 Church St. in Ronkonkoma, police said.
A wake was held earlier Sunday for Olivieri, 43, who was killed early Thursday morning while coming to the aid of a suspected drunken driver on the Long Island Expressway in North Hills, officials said.
Olivieri had gotten out of his squad car to help the driver, who had been in two crashes and wound up in the high-occupancy vehicle lane. Another vehicle came by and struck Olivieri.
The initial crash happened between exits 34 and 36 on the L.I.E.
The divorced father of two was rushed to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset where he died.
“We’re proud of his service, he’s a hero, a heroic man,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who has ordered flags at government buildings to be flown at half-staff through Nov. 18 in honor of Olivieri.
Hundreds of Olivieri’s family members, friends and colleagues turned out for the wake.
“He just loved doing his job. He loved it,” said Nassau County PBA President James Carver. “I mean, his off-duty car was a Crown Victoria. He loved being a cop.”
Officers at the service knew all too well of the dangers trying to do their work on I-495. Over the last decade along the LIE from exits 35 to 41, 25 officers have been struck by vehicles, CBS 2 reported.
Police said 25-year-old James Ryan, the driver of the vehicle allegedly responsible for the two crashes Olivieri was responding to was arraigned on vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated and other charges.
He was released on $120,000 bail on Friday.
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