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NEARBY: Truck Driver Who Killed Nassau Cop Avoids Jail

(Credit: NCPD)
(Credit: NCPD)
Editor's Note: This article was written by Andrew Coen.

A Connecticut truck driver who was accused of falling asleep at the wheel before striking and killing a Nassau County Police officer from Wantagh in February 2011, will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to lesser charge Thursday.

John Kaley, 27, of New Britain, Conn. had been charged with criminally negligent homicide for crashing his tow truck into Michael Califano while he was conducting a routine traffic stop along the Long Island Expressway in Old Westbury on Feb. 4, 2011.

On Thursday a little more than two years after the incident, Judge William O'Brien dismissed the criminally negligent homicide charge and Kaley pleaded guilty instead to reckless driving, according to Nassau County District Attorney's office spokesman Chris Munzing. He will not face jail time with his new misdemeanor charge but did have his license revoked.

Califano was a 12-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department before his tragic death. He left behind his wife, Jackie, and three small children, Michael, Christopher and Andrew.

Inside the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola where Kaley's plea deal was announced, prosecutor Maureen McCormick read a prepared statement from Jackie Califano.

From Newsday:
  • "There have been so many sleepless nights, and two years later there continues to be," McCormick read as Califano's widow draped an arm around the two youngest boys. "How am I going to raise three boys alone?"
randy February 23, 2013 at 12:56 AM
a very sad day for us all . miscarriage of justice, if your tired pull over and sleep it off, but no you get behind a wheel and kill someone. thats manslaugter to me. bad message sent here, my heart goes out to the Califano's.
S Lowenstein-Stein February 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Really? Sending the wrong message? The guy fell asleep, I am sure by accidently falling asleep he didnt mean to kill! A jail sentence would not serve anyone. Doesnt anybody believe that accidents are just THAT accidents anymore.
randy February 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM
first of all you don't accidently fall asleep, you get tired and begin to fall asleep, thats the time to pull over and think of others besides yourself. He didn't accidentallly fall alseep, lets get that fact first................So if no jail time what message does that send to the next guy who feels tired and keeps driving?
S Lowenstein-Stein February 23, 2013 at 12:18 PM
There was NO intent to kill.
S Lowenstein-Stein February 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM
I just dont believe that it would have served any purpose. Sorry just my opinion
randy February 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM
I never said there was intent to kill, thats why it isn't murder, if by your careless act or acts you kill somebody its manslaughter..........thats the law. by saying that it serves no purpose, do you mean it wouldnt let the next guy think about it before continuing driving? I guess we both have our opinions......thanks
S Lowenstein-Stein February 23, 2013 at 01:07 PM
I believe in what YOU are saying, BUT this was an accident. I also believe in society today the word accident has NO meaning. Sometimes is does apply. Serving no purpose, I mean the poor Officer is gone, his family is suffering and since this guy accidently killed him, I dont beileve he should suffer further. I have read he has GREAT remorse, and that alone is HIS suffering. :)
randy February 23, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Let me ask you this final question, if you are shooting a 22 in your backyard, and you know that the bullet could stray and hit someone and you do it anyway , you kill a person with the stray bullet is that an accident? driving a huge truck, a flatbed, knowing your falling asleep and you can possibly cause the life of yourself or another is an accident? Look, I respect your opinion, but I just don't see it that way. I'm not saying he should do 10 yrs hard time but he should be incarcerated for a time..........just my opinion.........
S Lowenstein-Stein February 23, 2013 at 06:46 PM
You are entiltled to your views, that why we have a great country. BUT the analogy is alittle off, shooting a gun in your backyard is I believe illegal, but driving a truck is not. So thats a tough one for me. I just think that an accident is just that an accident. HOW many times do you see a case like this, very few if any before? Well than the why should this guy go to JAIL? Community service would be punishment too. If this man is NOT remorseful, which I would like to believe any sane man in the same situation would be, then I think he will be living with this for the rest of his life.
S Lowenstein-Stein February 23, 2013 at 06:48 PM
And Randy, thanks for the conversation, without disparaging me. I rarely comment in a public forum cause it ends in name calling by some.
randy February 24, 2013 at 01:25 AM
it was good , thankyou too...........

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