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Grand Jury Clears Deputy Sheriff in Crash That Killed Blue Point Teen

A grand jury issues no true bill for criminally negligent homicide count in case involving a county deputy sheriff.

A Suffolk County grand jury has declined to issue an indictment of one count of criminally negligent homicide against a Suffolk County deputy sheriff involved in a that killed a Blue Point teenager in March on the Long Island Expressway. 

In a letter hand delivered and dated August 10 to Jo Ann and Luigi Schettino, whose 18-year-old son Billy was fatally struck by a deputy sheriff’s vehicle driven by Richard Tedesco, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office states the grand jury made its determination after hearing testimony of 18 witnesses and viewing 32 exhibit presentations.

The letter, signed by Ian Fitzgerald, an assistant district attorney in the major crimes bureau, cites that a New York State Police accident reconstruction report concluded the “primary causative factors” in the vehicle fatality to be Schettino’s disabled car and Schettino standing in the HOV lane next to his disabled car. It also notes that “contributing causative factors” were the speed of the deputy’s vehicle at the time of the 6 p.m. crash and sun glare.

The letter states current state law prohibits prosecution, under NYS Penal Law Article 125, for vehicular crimes based upon speed alone involving fatal crashes.

Schettino, a Bayport-Blue Point graduate, was headed to college classes March 14 when his car was disabled after a hit and run near exit 59 on the LIE. He had called his mother and was awaiting help when he was struck and killed by a deputy sheriff's car driven by Tedesco.

The Schettinos told Patch they were stunned by the grand jury’s decision and the news that a grand jury had been convened.

“We didn’t know about the grand jury, our attorneys didn’t know about it and a man just shows up at my door at 1 p.m. and hands this letter to us,” said Jo Ann Schettino, who said she still has questions about what happened.

According to the Suffolk DA’s website, a grand jury consists of 23 persons selected from jury rolls; 16 members constitute a quorum and 12 are necessary to return a “true bill” and vote an indictment.

The letter states the Schettino’s legal representatives were asked to submit witness names and evidence to the grand jury but that none was forthcoming.

But the Schettinos claim that request was not presented to their lawyer, and if they had known, they would have provided at least one witness statement that indicates sun glare was not an issue.

“One of the people we have a signed statement from clearly states there was no sun glare happening at the time and that they saw a sheriff moving his vehicle right after the accident while my son was laying there dying,” Jo Ann Schettino said. 

Calls to the Schettino's lawyer, Ted Rosenberg, of Rosenberg & Gluck in Holtsville, and calls and emails to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, were not returned Monday. 

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In June, the Schettinos a Suffolk County Court to get details on the DA’s several-month investigation and to get their son's personal belongings returned.

The letter received this past Friday states all property belonging to Billy will be released.

But that’s not providing great solace to the Schettino family as they still feel they don't know what happened.

“I can’t understand how another parent [Tedesco] can’t understand that we want the truth about what happened and want to hear him in person say he is sorry," Jo Ann Schettino said. "I can’t understand why that has never happened."

Taxed To Death August 14, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Tragic accident, but this is the right outcome. It was an accident, even though the coverage on here has been extremely slanted, most people, including the Grand Jury realize that.
R.I.P William We Love You August 14, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Knowing you have some background information on this your probably related to a sherrif or are one (by the way we never got any condelences sent) and im not saying it doesnt eat at him everyday but guess what people who kill people are supposed to think about it IN JAIL EVERYDAY like a criminal regardless of a badge and either way he should have reduced his speed if hteir was sunglare and when heading to an accident should put your sirens and lights on and trust me it was my family i know the facts so dont try to throw you "knowledge" in my face
Judy Mottl (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Note to Joe Sirico: Patch had to delete your post due to our profanity guidelines. Please feel free to repost without any vulgarity or profanity ok.
Courtney Rossi August 28, 2012 at 03:35 AM
How can you say that this is the right outcome? You weren't there. You weren't a witness. You weren't there when his wake was out the door, almost at the road. Regardless of what caused the "accident" this "man" should be behind bars. But seeing our wonderful Jury system at work, again, this is NOT happening. Billy is still not resting in peace, his family and friends and everyone who knew him, is still without solace. What if this was your son? What if you saw this "person" hit this amazing kid? Would you still be ok with this outcome? Would this still be right? I sincerely doubt it. So why don't you read your facts and get back to the people who know/knew Billy. Than tell all of us that its still the right outcome. Look his mother and father in the eyes, and tell them that. I don't think you could. It's obvious that your either a Sheriff or you have something to do in Law Enforcement. What if the case was the other way around and Billy said, "oh I'm sorry for striking and killing a Sheriff, I was going quite fast over the speed limit but that's not the main problem. I had a sun glare in my eyes." HE WOULD BE BEHIND BARS! Probably facing a life sentence. This POS walks free. Why? Because he is who he is....or thinks who he is. Of course!! This is our Jury system!!

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