When a Nassau County police car struck and killed Bellmorite Sherry Lang last April 16 on Merrick Road in Bellmore, initial reports said that the officer at the wheel, Ernest Thompson, was driving 30 mph in a 35-mph zone. A police investigation, however, concluded that Thompson’s car was traveling at 54 mph at the time of impact.
Details of the crash were made public in a police report, which the Herald has obtained.
Lang’s husband, Howard, said last week that speeding is unacceptable at any time, but especially in the rain that was coming down on the night of the accident.
Lang and his three sons now want to know why charges have not been filed against Thompson, and why he is still in possession of his driver’s license and continues to work, patrolling the streets.
A Nassau County Police Department reconstruction of the accident, which was undertaken last September, showed that Thompson, who was on his regular patrol, was speeding when he struck Sherry Lang, without sirens or flashing lights to signal that he was on an emergency run. With no explanation of why Thompson was driving so fast that night, the Lang family wants answers, attorney Thomas Cascione said.
“The police report recorded a speed of 30 mph … The data recorder says 53.9 mph and shows a top speed of 60,” Cascione said. “So, obviously, somebody’s not telling the truth.”
“If it was an accident in the true sense, as sad as I am, I could deal with it as one of those things in life,” Lang said. But the details of the accident don’t add up, he and his son Brent insist.
The day started like so many others, Lang recalled. His wife was in the kitchen of their Ocean Avenue home in Bellmore, preparing food for the coming Passover holiday, which she and Howard planned to celebrate with their sons, friends and extended family. The couple, married for 42 years, was also looking forward to a visit by their infant grandson, Jonah, for the weekend, while Brent and his wife, Farryl, celebrated her birthday. “She was excited to see the baby,” Brent said of his mother. “It was my wife’s birthday. The holidays were coming up. It was a good time.”