“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of a valued member of @NYPDHighway Unit #3, Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos, whom was killed in the line of duty this morning on the Long Island Expressway,” Inspector Nicole Papamichael, commander of Tsakos’ unit, tweeted after his death.
Police officer Anastasios Tsakos, 43, was on the Long Island Expressway in Queens directing traffic away before 2 AM on Tuesday. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the motorist who struck Tsakos was driving while intoxicated on a suspended driver’s license.
Shea explained that Tsakos was responding with his fellow officer to the scene of a car crash that killed one motorist and the vehicle burst into flames. Tsakos was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital in Queens where doctors were unable to save his life.
The New York Times identified the motorist as 32-year old Jessica Beauvais of Hempstead, NY. Beauvais is now facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment and driving while intoxicated.
The condolences for Officer Tsakos began to pour in from across the state and country with several outside police departments tweeting their sympathy. Shea described Tsakos as an “extremely highly regarded member” of his unit.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tsakos’ death was a fresh reminder that reckless driving was a threat for all New Yorkers and that it had to be addressed to save more lives.
“It is a reminder that there has to be a relentless, continued effort to ensure more consequences for people who drive under the influence, for people who drive recklessly,” de Blasio said.
The Greek-American community also extended its condolences after the death of Officer Tsakos on Tuesday as well.
“The tragic death of NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos, while serving his community, reminds us that first responders, police, fire, medical, always place their lives on the line. May his memory be eternal,” Archbishop Elpidophoros of America wrote on Facebook.
Tsakos had been a member of the NYPD for fourteen years, according to the department. He is survived by two children, aged 3 and 6, and his wife Irene. The New York Times reports that Officer Tsakos is the first NYPD member to have been killed while on duty this year.
In a press conference held after Tsakos’ death on Tuesday, Mayor De Blasio offered his condolences to the officer’s immediate family as well as his extended family in Greece.
Tsakos’ brother told local New York network WABC that the family was still in shock over his death. The network reported that they were currently looking for the best way to transport Tsakos’ Greek family members to Long Island for services.
After being taken into custody by the police, Beauvais admitted to them that she “knew she hit something but was unsure of what it was, even though Tsakos was in full reflective gear, next to a marked police car with flashing lights and a series of cones,” according to local news outlet ABC News 7.
Melinda Katz, the Queens District Attorney, has now filed 13 criminal charges against rthe driver, who apologized and confessed to killing Tsakos as she was led out of the police precinct.
“I’m sorry,” she said through tears. “I’m sorry that I hit him and that he’s dead.”
The officer’s brother, Teddy Tsakos, told Eyewitness News “He didn’t deserve this.
“He just bought a house. He was starting his life. He was doing good. Everything was cut short. That’s it.”
The accused hosted a podcast that authorities stated on Friday featured anti-police rants, but they do not believe that this activity was related to the alleged crime.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Friday “We stand here this morning reminded once again, in law enforcement, there is no such thing as a routine job.
“We stand here devastated and trying to pick up the pieces of what is a shattered home and a shattered NYPD family.”
According to information from the prosecutors, Beauvais drove into Tsakos going full speed and officers dove out of the way as his body flew 100 feet away from the point where he was hit.
Beauvais did not stop after the impact and by the time other officers finally caught up with her, her vehicle had jumped a curb. She then then put her car in reverse and rammed a police car — twice.
After being taken into custody, the body cam of one of the officers showed her asking “What did I do?”
According to court documents, Beauvais admitted “I smoke weed regularly. I drank two glasses of wine earlier today and then dropped my son off in Hempstead. I smoked a joint last night before my podcast that I did in Brooklyn; the podcast was from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“I brought the bottle of wine I had with me to the podcast. I had two shots of 1800 Patron tequila. When I left, I didn’t know where I was going so I used my GPS. I made a left turn and a right turn and ended up at a gas station where the cops stopped me. I don’t know why they stopped me, speeding I guess. I did hear a thump, so I knew I hit something but I didn’t see what it was.”
According to the police, when she was asked to perform an inhaler test, the results showed that her blood alcohol was .15, nearly double the legal limit. The test was performed more than two hours after the incident, according to reports.