NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Silver Shield Foundation says it will be giving $40,000 in education funds to the children of a Nassau County police officer who was struck and killed by a vehicle on the Long Island Expressway.
The foundation says $20,000 each will be given to the 18-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter of Officer Joseph Olivieri.
The veteran cop was hit by a SUV last week while responding to a multi-vehicle crash on the L.I.E. He had gotten out of his patrol car and was walking to some disabled vehicles in the high-occupancy vehicle lane when he was hit.
Olivieri was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
“His kids are having a real hard time going through this,” Nassau County PBA president James Carver said earlier this week. “It’s a tragic loss, a sudden loss. They were a close family so it makes it tougher.”
Thousands attended Olivieri’s funeral on Monday where his children were seen following their father’s police flag-draped casket out of the church.
“In the wake of this tragedy, we want the Olivieri family to know they are not alone. The entire New York community feels their profound loss. Their father’s legacy will never be forgotten,” said Silver Shield Foundation Chairman William G. Walters in a statement.
Last week, 25-year-old James Ryan was charged with vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated and other charges in connection with crash.
Police said Ryan was drunk when he caused the multi-vehicle wreck on the expressway that Olivieri was responding to and that ultimately led to his death.
Brian Davis, Ryan’s attorney, said that he would have to look into legal precedents for charging his client with manslaughter.
Ryan pleaded not guilty and was released on $120,000 bail. His license was also suspended. He is due back in court early next month.
The SUV driver who actually hit Olivieri has not been charged or even identified. Police said that is because it was an accident and he did not commit a crime, but said the investigation is still ongoing.
The Silver Shield Foundation offers funds and support to families of police officers, firefighters and state troopers killed in the line of duty.
For more information about the foundation, visit www.silvershieldfoundation.org.
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