In a case that tests the limits of criminal consequences, a New York man faces a vehicular homicide and manslaughter trial for an accident that killed a police officer. But the man wasn't involved in that crash and, in fact, wasn't behind the wheel at all at the time.

Prosecutors say James Ryan was charged because his drunken driving on the Long Island Expressway set in motion a series of events that ended with the death of the officer in 2012.

Ryan was involved in a pair of initial accidents, and at least five minutes later the officer who arrived to investigate was killed by an SUV that hit the original wreckage.

A spokesman for prosecutors declined comment but Ryan's attorney portrayed the charges as an overreach.