April 27, 2021 By Christina Santucci
A 43-year-old police officer – who was directing traffic at the scene of a fatal crash – was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the Long Island Expressway in Fresh Meadows early Tuesday morning.
NYPD Highway Officer Anastasios Tsakos, a 14-year veteran of the department, had been diverting traffic off of the eastbound lanes of the highway at about 2 a.m. when he was fatally struck by a 2013 Volkswagen.
The Volkswagen driver, Jessica Beauvais, allegedly fled the scene and was later apprehended on the Horace Harding Expressway, according to the NYPD.
Police said that 32-year-old Beauvais was allegedly intoxicated and driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. The Hempstead woman is now facing charges including vehicular manslaughter, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
Beauvais was also hit with charges including reckless endangerment, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, reckless driving and driving while intoxicated, the NYPD said.
Shea called Tsakos’ death a “senseless and completely avoidable chain of events.”
Authorities said they believed Beauvais was aware that she had hit a person with her car.
“When you see images of her car and the windshield that is completely shattered as well as damage to the front of the car, there is no way to not know,” Shea said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Shea and Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, held a news conference outside New York Presbyterian Hospital Queens.
“We stand here devastated and trying to pick up the pieces of what is a shattered home and a shattered NYPD family,” Shea said.
De Blasio and Shea said they had spent time with Tsakos’ widow. “The pain she is going through, there are no words for,” the mayor said.
Tsakos also leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
Lynch described Tsakos as embodying the highest compliments customary for police officers – “He was a cops’ cop and a good guy,” Lynch said.
Tsakos had been assisting at the scene of a single-car accident in which a vehicle crashed into a utility pole near Francis Lewis Boulevard and caught fire at about 12:30 a.m.
NYPD officers had pulled the occupants out of the flaming vehicle, and one of the two passengers was killed, Shea said.
Earlier, we updated NYers on last night’s tragic events. pic.twitter.com/IFsPguIs1c
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) April 27, 2021