Friends and family members of Billy Schettino, the 18-year-old Blue Point teenager killed in a car accident on the LIE March 14 by a patrol car driven by a Suffolk County sheriff, are lobbying to get signatures on a petition to charge the deputy sheriff involved with wrongful death.
The change.org petition, which currently has 364 supporters, requests Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota to charge Richard Tedesco and hold him accountable for Schettino’s death.
Family member Gerard Schettino initiated the petition to get answers about the accident and insight on the ongoing investigation by the DA’s office
In April the New York State Police completed its accident investigation report. The sheriff office spokesman has referred inquiries on the investigation to the district attorney’s office.
In published reports, Suffolk County Sheriff officials have stated the depty sheriff did not see Schettino’s disabled car or the teenager due to sun glare.
“If Billy had struck and killed Sheriff Tedesco claiming sun glare obstructed his view he would be in jail awaiting sentencing. No if ands or buts about it,” states the petition letter.
Billy Schettino, a Bayport-Blue Point graduate, was headed to college classes the night he was killed. The family says his car became disabled after a hit and run incident and that he was awaiting help when he was struck and killed by a sheriff's car driven by Tedesco.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's office, in an email to Patch, states the investigation is continuing.
In May the Schettino family hired a lawyer and petitioned a Suffolk County Court to get answers on the investigation, as well as a copy of the medical examiner and autopsy reports and the personal effects from Schettino’s car which remains impounded.
In signing the online petition, many supporters state they are seeking justice and want answers to why Tedesco is back at work fulltime.
“This may be a tragic accident, but TESDECO shall no longer be an OFFICER. You took away a brilliant, talented and young man's life, who was just starting to live his life. We are not only going after you because you are an officer, we are going against you on your actions. If you were another person, in someone else's shoes...you would have been in jail THAT DAY!,” writes Madeline Higgins, a teenage friend of Schettino.
Schettino’s uncle, Anthony Zagger makes a plea in his statement for others to sign the petition so that there is “accountability.”
“[Tedesco} must be charged. Just because you wear a badge it does not exempt you from the law. We ALL should be held a accountable under the law and God for our actions,” wrote Zagger.