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Cement Truck Driver Charged in Fatal Bus Crash

Mineola man facing manslaughter, assault charges in death of Locust Valley driver and injured passengers.

Nassau County detectives have charged the driver of a cement truck with manslaughter in connection with the horrific school bus crash in Locust Valley last July that left one man dead.

Raymond Ragen, 44, of Mineola, was charged Tuesday with driving while under the influence of drugs when he barreled into a Long Island Rail Road bridge July 23 and careened into an oncoming school bus.

Driver Jorge Guevara was pronounced dead at the scene after a cement truck smashed head-on into the bus he was driving in the oncoming lane at 3:15 p.m., police said.

Five other male bus passengers were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Among them were three 6-year-olds, a 9-year-old and one adult, aged 64.

Ragen was treated at an area hospital and later released. He was seen helping the victims at the scene of the crash when police arrived.

But a six-month investigation determined through toxicology reports that Ragen was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, police said Wednesday.

The truck, a 2003 Oshkosh cement mixer owned by Nicolia Ready Mix, was travelling eastbound on Oyster Bay Road near Matinecock Court when it smashed into the LIRR overpass. The mixing compartment was knocked from the truck as the vehicle collided with the bus in the westbound lane.

The bus was transporting the children from a day camp in the area.

Ragen is charged with second-degree manslaughter, five counts of assault, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, reckless endangerment, driving while ability impaired by drugs in a commercial vehicle, aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, various vehicular assault, reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, police said.

Detectives said Ragen was also using a mobile cell phone at the time of the crash.

Ragen will be arraigned on the charges Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

Janet B. January 23, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Joe: Do you know why it took so long for him to be arrested? Could it possibly have taken this long for the tests to reveal he had drugs in his system? (I can't imagine that's possible)
Joe Dowd (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Janet: according to the police, some of these toxicology reports take that long to complete, especially when it involves certain substances. We'll ask additional questions later on this, though. Thank you for the question. jd
Janet B. January 23, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Wow. Ok, thanks, Joe. Appreciate your getting back to me. I was really confused why it would take this long.
js January 23, 2013 at 08:23 PM
I've seen how these drivers of cement trucks drive,....reckless,fast,always on cell phones,not slowing down on turns.mostly goomba looking,(and yes i'm italian).
Michelle January 24, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Valium is not a recreational drug that gets you "high" unless you take massive doses. It is an anti-anxiety medication which does not render you "impaired" or incapable of making decisions. This is also a man who pulled the kids out of the bus. This was a terrible "accident". I am sure that the driver of the truck has had his own nightmares from what he saw. He was not "unlicensed" as the news is reporting. This was a man who has been a professional driver for over 25 years and has a clean driving license. There are also no warning signs leading up to the bridge, until you get directly in front of it. The residents say that accidents with trucks happen all the time in this location. This is an unfortunate accident. My prayers go out to everyone involved.
Grifhunter January 25, 2013 at 12:54 AM
What about that cell phone that was commanding his attention?
Rada Sosa January 25, 2013 at 04:17 PM
I agree with with Michelle.
joey January 26, 2013 at 02:25 AM
I would like to say,I know Raymond his entire life.He has been driving these trucks the last 20 something years.cement mixers,rolloff trucks,dump trucks and sand trailers.this was a terrible tragic accident!He is one of the nicest guys I know!when emergency crews arrived on the scene Raymond was trying to help the children and driver on the bus.I saw a report that he was unlicensed!that's not true everything to him was about his liscense.my question is this if he was under the influence why wasn't he arrested as a result of a field sobriety test? drug test.I want why its six months later they decided to charge him?I would be careful of I were you you might find yourself in this tragic situation.with the resources of the police and nassau county da office need six months to process a drug test?Something stinks here?some idiot actually said he looked like a gumba,then he said I'm Italian too!Let me see you operate these pieces of equipment for this length of time!so was he on his phone they say he was.they also say it takes six months for a test result?you be the judge?tragic accident,yes.Criminal no way.we all made mistakes in the past.how many times do you have to pay for your mistakes.what about paying you're debt to society.if you have never made a mistake,good for you.but if you do watchout,you maybe next
Tony Maple February 02, 2013 at 04:36 PM
I lived on the same block as Raymond Ragen(the driver) for most of my life. He has been addicted to cocaine and other drugs since he was a teenager. Reguardless of if the drugs played any role in the acident, they were still in his system with no prescription. DOT regulations are very strict and very clear. He should be charged to the fullest extent of the law.
tj March 29, 2013 at 10:25 AM
because the U.S justice system is set up to bankrupt the tax payer and keep evil and bad people out on the streets as long as possible....SOme lady just got 7 years in wantagh for killing her husband...that means in 4 years the relatives of the dead can bump into this lady at 7-11.......The general dumb public suck up this nonsense and cater to bad people like crazy...they provide so much for people who have done wrong its weird

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