Deadly Drag Race Alleged racer, innocent driver killed in collision

Source: Long Island Newsday
Author: Adam Borowitz
Date: 2001/06/24

A Lamborghini racing a Corvette, weaving in and out of traffic, crossed the center line of Lawson Boulevard in Oceanside yesterday and smashed head-on into an oncoming Volvo, killing the racer and an innocent driver, Nassau police said. Glenn Jacofsky, 43, of Oceanside, was killed when racer Michael Vasapolli, 30, of North Woodmere, crossed the center line in the 3:39 p.m. crash at Montgomery Avenue and Lawson Boulevard.

Vasapolli was also killed in the crash that injured both men's wives. Kevin Hart, 27, of 105 Wolf Ave., Malverne, who police said was racing Vasapolli, was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in First District Court in Hempstead. "It appears they were drag racing," said Det. Sgt. Kevin Smith, spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department.

The crash occurred seconds into an apparent challenge between a silver 2001 Lamborghini driven by Vasapolli and a gray 1990 Corvette driven by Hart, police said. Witnesses said the race began when both cars revved their engines at the intersection of Lawson and Weidner Avenue. They drove south down the four-lane street, which has two lanes in each direction.

Two blocks later, Vasapolli's Lamborghini careened head-on into Jacofsky's black 2000 Volvo on the other side of the dividing line, killing both drivers. Police said Vasapolli crossed the center line in order to pass a light-colored 1981 Cadillac driving south and could not get back into the southbound lanes in time. "The Lamborghini, when he has a slower moving vehicle in front of him, goes into the oncoming lane, and he strikes the Volvo," Smith said.

"The Corvette, in his attempt to miss everything, loses control, leaves the road and strikes a fence and a parked school bus on private property." Both Jacofsky's and Vasapolli's wives were in the cars with them. Jacofsky's wife, Amy, 41, was taken to Long Beach Hospital, and Vasapolli's wife, Karen Mauro, 31, was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, Smith said.

No information about their conditions was available yesterday. Hart, whose license plate read LOV2XLR8, or "love to accelerate," also was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital, but he was not seriously hurt, authorities said. A man who answered the phone at Hart's home last night declined to comment. The driver of the Cadillac, whom police would not identify, was not hurt.

One eyewitness said the Volvo overturned three times and landed upside down after the impact. "They were gunning their engines, waiting for the light to turn green," said Oceanside resident Frank Juba. "I was sitting on the stoop. When I saw them go by, I heard the banging. I ran around the corner and I saw it."

He said the cars were probably reaching 75 to 80 mph; police said the cars were going 70 mph. The cars yesterday were twisted masses of metal, smashed from the impact and carved up by firefighters who rushed to the scene to extricate the victims. Lawson Boulevard is no stranger to the screech of fast-moving sports cars and the pungent smell of a tire's burnt rubber, locals said.

"It's known for racing," said Stu Nagel, an area resident. "The kids late at night are always racing. Usually it's not in the daytime. They start at the top of the hill." Nagel said the street is plagued with crashes. "Almost every week, there's an accident," he said. Last night, Bernard Jacofsky described his brother as the center of the family. "He was a fantastic person," he said. "He will be sorely missed. We all loved him very dearly."




Questions, comments and criticisms can be directed to: Jeff