EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The police officer involved in a fatal crash on the Long Island Expressway Friday night was remembered by fellow officers and his community Saturday.  Police have also charged a Connecticut man with homicide in the death.

Officer Michael J. Califano, a 12-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department, was killed after an accident that occured around 10:55 p.m. Friday involving a a flatbed truck and a police car on the westbound lane of the Expressway between Exit 40 and Exit 39 in Old Westbury.

1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney hears from fellow officers remembering Califano

Officer Michael Califano (Photo/Nassau Co. Police)

Detectives said Califano was conducting a vehicle and traffic law stop and was sitting in his car with lights blinking. That’s when the flatbed truck struck the officer’s car from behind. The officer’s car ended up under the stopped box truck and was crushed, trapping the officer inside.

Responders had to cut the car in order to rescue Califano and rushed him to Nassau University Medical Center, where the officer died as a result of the collision.

Police have charged the driver — identified as 25-year-old John Kaley, of New Britain, Connecticut — with criminally negligent homicide, third-degree assault and failing to move over for an emergency vehicle.

John Kaley has been charged with criminally negligent homicide (Photo/Nassau Co. Police)

Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said the officer’s death was a great loss to the county and lauded Califano was “one of our best.”

Fellow officers said they felt privileged to have worked with Califano.

“The nicest compliment you could pay Mike is that he was a soft-spoken gentleman.  Always had a smile on his face.  Never had a mean thing to say about anybody.  It was just a pleasure to be friends with and work next to for a bunch of years,” one colleague said.

“It crushes you, you know? You wake up in the morning, you turn your phone on, and you see a message come over that you lost a friend over something tragic like that,” fellow Officer Carl Tedeschi told CBS 2’s Lou Young. “It’s very, very upsetting.”

Three others were injured.  They included two people who were in the box truck and a female passenger in the flatbed truck. All were being treated at a hospital.

Flags at Nassau County buildings were being flown at half-staff in honor of Califano.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (94)
  1. jeff johnson says:

    First of all sorry for your loss,its very tragic when we lose loved ones.The driver of the flat bed truck John, I know him I refuse to believe he committed 3rd.degree assault especially after having crashed, also why would he be held without bail was he drinking? I know he doesn’t use drugs, I’m trying to think what could have gone wrong. Texting? :/ my prayers go out to the officers family and friends also John his family,girlfriend and friends

  2. Ct towman says:

    This guy is a f-king moron….. If I’m to tired to drive then I pull over and take a nap. Why risk my life and those around me? Kaley is a jack$$ who will get what he deserves while In jail

  3. Step back N look at the big pic says:

    What if the roles were reversed? What if the officer was off duty and crashed into Mr Kaley who risks his life retrieving disabled vehicles and helping people. Would the officer be charged as heavily? Is his life still more valuable than the tow truck operator who puts his life at risk for the public?

    1. S. says:

      A straw man argument? Really? If you hate the establishment so much, you’re free to go live in a cave. It’d certainly save the rest us from hearing your pretentious what-ifs. If this is your idea of intelligent debate, I must suggest that you read up on effective methods. Clearly the only one you know is the one you’ve showcased above.

      1. Kets reflect says:

        Let me first say my heart goes out to the family of officer Califano, This is a tragedy and The residents of Nassau have lost a dedicated officer. We should take this time to reflect on how to aviod these types of accidents. It sees logical to me, that the PD should consider a policy of pulling vehicles off the expressway during traffic stops. This tragedy took place only a stones throw from exit 39, Had the PD had a policy of such, officer Califano may still be alive today. The truth is Traffic stops are dangerous, for the officer and the motorist bieng pulled over. When an officer chooses to stop a vehicle it is just as easy to direct the vehicle off the the next available exit as it is to use the shoulder of the road. As far as the Flatbed driver goes, he was not high or drunk he fell asleep @ the wheel . Sad but it is just an accident arresting him and jailing him without bail is the second tragedy, as now 2 families have lost husbands/fathers. The legal issues are for the courts to argue out, allow the man bail , I just read about a drunk man in Suffolk who killed a man crossing the street , the man was drunk, with a child in the car and left the scene, his bail was set @ $ 150,000. The man commited 3 felonies. Seems a bit harsh to hold Kaley w/o bail.

  4. Tom says:

    I personnely knew the PO and he was a great individual as well as a Police Professional. God Bless him and his family.
    Everyone wants to Monday Quaterback the scenario. It will not bring him back.
    All Highway PO’s know the constant danger of the road, but they keep doing it. The only thing you can say is “Thank You” for doing it and try to stay safe.

  5. DanTe says:

    I love the mediocre reporting of libs like C _the_ BS. Failing to mention that the tow truck driver was swerving all over the place prior to the crash. And that it had multiple moving violations. I guess the libs are sympathetic to their fellow T ARDs.

    1. badman says:

      hey Dan, what does poor reporting have to do with liberalism, conservatism or any other political ideology? You’re obviously angry about something (or maybe lots of things). Assuming you’re not a stupid guy – you probably don’t realize how dumb your anger can make you look.

  6. me says:

    My heart and prayers go out to the victim John Kayley as the police state will try and hang him for being less of a human being than a prized police officer.

    1. me, wow,very creatinve says:

      Fat chance, schmuck! I bet your divorced? I know your blind

  7. Skeeter Spungo says:

    Look at John Kaley’s mug shot photo!

    Not a shred of remorse for what he did. He is clearly guilty – you can see it in his eyes.

    I would love to be on his jury. I wouldn’t have hear a single piece of evidence. I know he is guilty. Just read the article and then the comments. Guilty!!!!

    And the fact that he killed a police officer should triple his sentence. Even better, how about some of the officer’s brothers in blue make sure Kaley never even makes it to trial (accidents sometimes happen in jail) – Kaley could wind up with some slick lawyer who fools some liberal judge & jury and he gets a not guilty verdict.

    1. LiSux says:

      Papi chulo, papi chulo? Look whos talking!!!!!

    2. Skeeter Sprungo1 says:

      Last year, a suffolk cop was killed in car by a man driving with no license and high. He got 2 years! This will be less! What are you smoking! Fellow men in blue are useless, careless and will never, eveeerrrr seek revenge for a so-called “fallen friend”” boo hooo hooo

      1. 01608 says:

        I know it is a dream, but I wood hope that any p.o. would NOT seek revenge. Keep ur job at I.h.o.p. opening doors.

    3. Just the Truth Guys! says:

      seems to me like every other dwi case out there, involves and off-duty police officer. Get your facts straight you little prune.


  8. C passaro says:

    My son is a police officer in TN.He was clipped by a van that did not “move over”.He was not seriously injured — he was lucky.– as I am too,that my son is still here.Don’t drink and drive and don’t sleep and drive!!! This is a sad story for all involved. Too many lives changed in an instant.

    1. TENNESSESSEAN says:

      I’m sohappy for your son. He got teeth?

  9. R Lee Ermey says:

    you sir, are a puke. a grabastic piece of amphibious sheeit

  10. lgrtr says:

    with a comment like that I bet if you dropped off the face of the world, there wouldn’t be too many mourners at your service. Way to be a human being til!

  11. Former LIer says:

    More info:

    According to an earlier video, the cop car and box truck were off the road.

    In the current video, they say Kaley and the passenger were asleep. Kaley was driving too many hours for a CDL. There was also a car on his flatbed. Maybe it was the passenger’s?

    The main charge is “criminally negligent homicide”. That means it wasn’t murder, it wasn’t malicious, but it WAS incredibly stupid.


    They often pile on elevated charges so they can get a plea agreement that will still put someone away for a long time. This could be one of those cases.

  12. JR says:

    Hence, the new law that started on January 1, and I am HAAPPY as a pig in p–p that he also got charged with that! RIP Officer Colifano.

  13. John I says:

    From the flatbed drivers Facebook page. How ironic.

    John Kaley
    People that don’t know how tho drive should definitely not try to drive in snow cause they just suck even more
    January 7 at 6:22pm via Android · View Feedback (5)Hide Feedback (5)

    1. RE Lee Ermey says:

      Kaley is a butt pirate…shpuld be wed behind bars in a beautiful ceremony. kinda like the “wedding” in Deliverance between Ned Beatty and the mountain man.

  14. 01608 says:

    If former LIer is correct,and this happened in a breakdown lane what is the porblem? I’m sory 4 sum of u but jail time.

  15. Wade Ingalls says:

    hearts go out to family and freinds

  16. 01608 says:

    Stu knows the offiser had no reason to stop the truck. Smart man. Polar true it did not state anything about drunk or drug driving, but {I don’t like to say this} there was a reason. That’s one thing the police are not telling.

  17. Ellen says:

    What a tragedy, and now his family left without a husband, and father. My deepest prayers go out to them as well as Officer Califano’s fellow police officers.

    1. OldManStu says:

      I bet he will have a larger funeral than that poor NJ Cop who was shot at random 2 weeks ago. What a joke! This man was too nosy for his own good! Pulling over a boxtruck for truly no reason i am sure! All to try and be a hero to his fellow buds1

  18. Joe says:

    im surprised the driver wasnt asian

    1. HUGO says:

      I’m not surprised at all, take a good look at Kaley. He resembles YOU!

    2. ChickenHawk says:

      More racist Long Island white trash. Blame the Asians. Like THAT’s your problem. If it isn’t drunk drivers killing wedding guests and good cops, it’s drunk cops drunk driving and lying about it. Thank GOD the NY traffic keeps you filth penned up on that waste land. You deserve each other.

      1. lgrtr says:

        ChickenHawk, our problems stem from people like you. You have it perfect huh? What glass house are you writing from, so that someone with the time can throw stones right back at you? As a former city dweller you really need a reality check. If theres any filth, it’s spewing from you. A cop was killed grow up & have a heart. Would you be commenting like this if it was one of yours? Have some respect, or didn’y your momma teach you that?

    3. Nj police officer says:

      Asians don’t drive flatbeds. They drive nice cars. As you can see it was the white man.

  19. Paul Polar says:

    I’m sorry for the death. but i don’t think that the man in the truck that killed him should be charged.

    1. timothyC says:

      Are you bi-Polar, Mr. Polar? I think you mean “should not be” charged.

      1. Paul Polar says:

        Because it was an accident and accidents happen and he was not even drunk

      2. No Fool says:

        If it were an ordinary person who was killed instead of a cop, he probably would not have been arrested!

  20. Karl Milenkovic Retired S. Fla Cop says:

    “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” —Proverbs 28:1

    No greater love than a man that would lay down his life for another! Mike you are a hero to all of us; you did a job that few can do and from everything I heard you did it with integrity, valor and pride. For those of us privileged to wear a badge and know what it’s like to be that Thin Blue Line between good and evil we salute you for a job well done!. Rest in His arms and know your family will be taken care of. God Bless you Jackie and all of this hero’s family. You will me missed.

    1. Nick Truth says:

      The road has no lights on it at all. Sit and have your coffee boys, nothing will happen.

  21. jd says:

    How many unnecessary deaths due to drivers who assume they will be let off because it was just an accident? The whole culture seems to automatically dismiss stupid drivers, like it is just accepted they can be irresponsible with a thousand plus pound machine at high speed. People look to blame the victim in all automobile accidents, or poor lighting, or poor road surface, or lack of avoidance of the oncoming vehicle. The whole culture needs to put more accountability on the driver. End of story.

    1. ObamaFanJKJKJKJ says:

      Nobody wants to see aman die, but the guy did not wake up in the morning intending to do this. Giive him a break you liberal morons.

    2. Steve P says:

      Never been in an accident or have gotten a ticket huh jd?

  22. Citizen says:

    It’s unfortunate that all who negligently cause this type of accident are not so charged. No excuse to drift off the highway like that, no excuse for many accidents, they are negligence not true accidents.

    So sorry for friends and family.

    1. 01608 says:

      I don’t think he was out to kill anyone, so what is a true accident?

  23. Cuz Diana says:

    Let’s not forget that this man, along with many other men and women, put on a bullet-proof vest and hung a gun from his hip when he got ready for work. THINK ABOUT THAT! Let’s honor the fact that he put his life on the line every day for all of us. Many don’t know what it’s like to say goodbye to a spouse when they leave for work. Unless you’re police family, you can’t fully understand the meaning of The Thin Blue Line. This man served and protected his community. My heart breaks for my family. XOXO

    and my condolences to clueless norma

    1. Steve P says:

      Are you kidding me? I feel terrible for this man ad his family but he was a Nassau county highway patrol officer. his is not the South Bronx. This man was working the dream job of almost every Long Islander. I am not sure where you are from but no Nassau county officer is truly putting their lives on the line. I know 15 yr veterans that have nver remove their guns from their holsters. These officers make $175000 a year on average, have the best benefits, $125000 a year pensions and work 4 days then have 4 days off. The sad part about this accident is that the police union will use it to pad their pockets in the next contract hearing and will try tho further burdenthe pockets of Nassau taxpayers. He was not doing anything heroic at the time of his death, he had pulled over a working man for insufficient lights to feed his overtime. I feel horrible for his family.

      1. Thankful for NCPD says:

        First of all have some respect for this man and his family. Second, he was heroic. He got up everyday to face the unknown and put his life on the line. Lastly, most of these officers have put their time in the NYPD and they DESERVE EVERY penny earn. You sound like a bitter person, if you don’t like Nassau then move!

      2. Steve P says:

        sound like a Nassau county cop. Fact this is only the second officer to die in the line of duty since 1980. Last one was punched in chest and died a few days later, obviously he had som underlying medical condition and didn’t belong on the job. More contractors have died on the job in that span. Please don’t insult me by saying vthey earn every penny. Still this is very sad event, I just don’t beleive this young man should be charged with a homicide. Afterall he was just out trying to make a living too.

  24. common sense says:

    maybe the girl was sleeping or giving the truck driver sexual pleasure. People are stupid while driving. Especially texting. They should make all phones that go over a certain speed to stop working regardless if you’re driving or not. Another tragic accident!

  25. J says:

    Sounds like an accident and overzealous attorney. I believe nothing will stick on this young land and he will walk away a free man. We as a society want to have someone responsible for this act, but the responsibility seems to rest with the police officer. His lights were blinking. Did not his car have the typical law enforcement lights swirling round and flashing. Moreover, exits 39-40 can be tricky to negotiate during the late hours. I know because I have driven through there. It’s the classic case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. My heart goes to his family.

  26. 01608 says:

    Larry can’t speak 4 ur st. but what I found in ma. it’s better to slow down, cause when u try 2 change lanes they speed up and block u.

  27. J9 says:

    I am so sorry for the family of the police officer. It is tragic. But, is it necessary to charge this person with homicide? An accident is just that, an accident. There may be negligence involved, Im sure there is, but I belive that this severe prosecution would not have happened were it not a police officer involved. I hope this young man gets a good lawyer. He is going to need one.

  28. beansy says:

    What’s wrong with Norma’s comment? I believe when your number is up, it’s up as well. It’s tragic when anyone dies like that, police officer or not.

    1. 01608 says:

      Not a thing is wrong with that comment, as long as you don’t mind reading it about someone you love.

    2. C M says:

      Hopefully at the wake of your next closest family member someone comes up to you and says “I believe when your number is up, it’s up as well”. I’m sure you’ll find those words comforting!

      1. beansy says:

        People can have an opinion in a public forum, no? I don’t know the officer or his family so, I don’t have to “comfort” anyone.

  29. 01608 says:

    Let me throw this out.
    Please note this is not fact.
    The driver was txting had no clue, you know like norma.
    What was passenger doing why didn’t she see the lights?

  30. LI_Guy says:

    Still a 4-ticket minimum in Nassau?

  31. Donna says:

    To Our Cousins,
    We love you Jackie,Mike,Chris and Andrew. You will be strong,God has you all under his love and will keep you all safe and strong.although we are far apart,we are very close in your heart and you are in ours.. Thank you Mike for your dedication to the “Ny Blue” ,, we will see you in Heaven..xo
    We Love You,
    Ron,Donna,Ronnie and Corey

  32. NYC Lady says:

    This is a senseless loss of life. A man doing his job and senselessly killed by someone who shouldn’t even be behind the wheel. My condolences to his family, friends and his coworkers.
    This should NOT have happened !!!

    Norma, you sound like a cold person….That is sad

    1. Steve P says:

      Why shouldn’t he have been behind the wheel ? Did he not have a license? Was he drunk or high? No it was an accident. It was another man out trying to make a living. Get your facts straight

      1. NYC Lady says:

        That accident should NOT have happened. Why didn’t he see the blinking lights? Was he to busy talking up a storm to his female passenger sitting next to him? Why didn’t she see the lights? Was she to busy enjoying the ride and talking up a storm right back to him?

        I am sorry but this just should NOT have happened and another life loss because of senselessness.

  33. fu says:

    would driver be chargered with homicide if this wasn’t a cop?

    1. Harry Callihan says:


      1. 01608 says:

        SORY Harry wrong botton.
        But fu YES

    2. YAK says:

      fully agreed! How is an accident homicide???

      1. AW says:

        Are you people stupid? It was an accident so he should not be charged? The guy fell asleep. If he had not been on the road, Officer Califano would still be alive and my three young cousins would still have a father. Get a clue.

  34. Mike DuFan says:

    Another Brother lost in the Line of Duty… Rest in Peace..my condolences to you & your family..Gods Speed…

  35. H LINZER says:

    was woken up from news of this accident my heart goes out to families and officers affected. We need to make changes. we need action would love to help.

  36. karens says:

    sadly, another servant of the people is needlessly murdered by an idiot. as an extended member of the long blue line family, my sincerest condolences to officer califanos families. their pain is great, and they will be strong because of each other’s love & support. to the criminal responsible for all this pain and destruction – you deserve a long and miserable jail sentence. justice for the victims.!

    1. Steve P says:

      MURDERED? really? yor an idiot

  37. A Brother says:

    Sounds like among other things speed was a big factor here. Speed can get you killed or charged with murder, so slow down for everyone’s sake. Crashes are so much more survivable with every mile an hour you slow down. Godspeed to the Califano family, and see you in Heaven Michael.

  38. Angelo says:

    The Police and Fire Dept. workers are our unsung heroes. It is so sad when someone driving is not paying attention for whatever reason affects the life of so many people. This driver who caused this grief should be prosecuted to full extent of the law. May god bless this police officer and help guide his family through these tough times.

    1. Hector Lopez says:

      Unsung heroes? where have you been for the last ten years? After 9/11, all people do is worship cops and foremen. And while I do not mean to diminish the tragedy of their deaths, those cops and firefighters knew the risks when they put on those uniforms. They did so voluntarily. But we rarely hear about those civilians, who went to work operating computers and pushing mops-and died. They’re jobs were not meant to be life-and-death jobs. So lets stop putting the lives of cops and firemen above others. A tragic loss of a human life is tragic loss of a human life-no matter what the persons occupation.

      1. john says:

        you are right ,,all life if valuable and irreplaceable ,,,however you make no sense not a single person who operates computers in my office wears a bullet proof vest and gun,,,,,

  39. Simboo says:

    My sincerest sympathy to late officer’s family members. I hope you find strength and courage to overcome this tragedy.

  40. Mike Toron says:

    The tri state area, NY, NJ & CT all have adopted the
    Move Over Law (or Act) as well as many other states due to a pattern of tragic events

    I am deeply saddened by the events surrounding this dedicated Officers death
    My heart goes out to his family, fellow NCPD, & Officers everywhere

  41. Emt8845 says:

    All I have to say to Norma is maybe sh-t will happen to you and it will be your time. This man dedicated and gave his life for idiots like you. And I agree with fritz Von See you next Tuesday

  42. friend of somebody deeply affected says:

    I cannot imagine what his family , wife and children are going through. Passing time will make it easier on all affected by this tragedy , but will never let Michael to be forgotten. He will stay alive through memories.He will carry on what he did his whole life – protect others.Michael is now one of the GOD’s FINEST!!!

  43. Mike Toron says:

    TJ is correct, it is called the move over law.
    Unfortunately this is too common, while one would think gun fire is the only danger a Police Officer might face it is far from the truth
    As far as Norma’s comment I think you are out of touch with how tragic this Officers death is
    Officers everywhere that did not even know him are deeply saddened by their brother officers unnecessary & tragic death

    1. 01608 says:

      We in Ma. have this move over law for police,fire,work crews and tow truck.
      The problem here is the lights are so bright that you can’t even see on coming traffic, never mind someone standing in the road.
      May god be with the family, and yes even you norma.

      1. Former LIer says:

        We have that law in NY now. This tragedy happened on a 4-lane divided highway and the officer was in the breakdown lane, so oncoming traffic was irrelevant. There was absolutely no excuse for that flatbed driver to hit him. Absolutely none.

        Deepest sympathies to Officer Califano’s family, friends, and fellow officers.

  44. Teri says:

    How very sad for the family. Stay safe out there………..

  45. Larry Schwarz says:

    Isn’t there a law in New York requiring vehicles to move over one lane or if unable to slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit when the police are working an accident or traffic stop.If not,there should be

  46. TJ says:

    I am pretty sure there was a new law where you had to stay one lane clear of a police vehicle in a pull-over. Doesnt anybody know this? Its common sense and sad that it has to be a law. Even so, people are just plain stupid and a life was lost as a result.

    1. Larry Schwarz says:

      If there isn’t a law there should be.Here in Utah there have been numerous crashes of vehicles hitting police cars while an officer is working an accident or traffic stop.Police arn now vigorously enforcing this law.In utah you must move over one lane and if unable to because of traffic then slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit.My condolonces go out to this officers family.I

  47. Fritz Von says:

    Norma, you’re a Fine Citizen. See you next Tuesday.

  48. john says:

    god bless you and your family

  49. norma says:

    sh-t happens when its your time its your time RIP

    1. Brian says:

      Nice comment to leave for the officers family who are reading this story!

    2. Nancy Luna says:

      My condolences to this officers Family. I hope this driver pays big time… IN JAIL…

      Norma if you have nothing good to say…Don’t say anything…

    3. SaddenedCitizen says:

      My condolences to norma. She hasn’t got a clue.

    4. satin says:

      you are so right…we can only hope and pray yours is up sooner than leter. You are a cold hearted b-itch. My condolences to Mikes family. May God be at your side during this difficul time

  50. citizen says:

    May God be with him and his family at this difficult time. RIP PO

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