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Fate of Man Accused of Mowing Down Cop From Massapequa Goes to Jury

Jonathan Lopez, 22, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of vehicular manslaughter stemming from an accident that killed an off-duty NYC police officer from Massapequa.

Jonathan Lopez, of East Meadow, at the time of his arrest. (Credit: NCPD)
Jonathan Lopez, of East Meadow, at the time of his arrest. (Credit: NCPD)
Story by Carisa Giardino

An East Meadow man awaits his fate as a jury continues deliberating the manslaughter case against him.

Jonathan Lopez, 22, was involved in a three-vehicle crash on the Southern State Parkway in September 2011 that killed Kevin Jessup, an off-duty New York City police officer from Massapequa, according to police.

Jessup, 25, was driving a Nissan Maxima east of the Bethpage Parkway when he was struck by another Nissan driven by Lopez, who also rear ended a third vehicle, according to New York State Police. Nassau prosecutors argue Jessup and Lopez were racing before the crash.

Jessup and a passenger were transported to Nassau University Medical Center where Jessup was pronounced dead, police said. The passenger in Jessup's vehicle was admitted for non-life threatening injuries. Lopez and the driver of the second car, Dawn Smallwood, were treated and released from area hospitals.

Lopez was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, 2nd degree; driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, speeding and two counts of third-degree assault.

According to a Newsday report, while deliberating, jurors asked for a reading of some eyewitness testimony, to see photos of tire marks and to examine the defendant's statements to authorities.

Lopez faces up to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge.

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