What to Know
- A 43-year-old NYPD veteran directing highway traffic after a deadly crash on the Long Island Expressway was struck and killed by an alleged drunken driver who fled the scene
- The 32-year-old woman was later apprehended and now faces a litany of charges; top police officials say it's highly unlikely she could have not realized she had hit the officer given damage to her car
- The victim, Anastasios Tsakos, is survived by his wife, Irene, and their 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son
The woman accused of drunk driving as she struck an NYPD highway officer said she was "sorry" that he's dead.
Jessica Beauvais was arraigned Tuesday in a Queens courtroom on vehicular manslaughter charges and she admitted that she had been drinking and smoking marijuana before she got into her car earlier that morning. She was driving down the Long Island Expressway when she fatally hit officer Anastasios Tsakos, a father of two.
Police say Beauvais' blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit after she tried to flee the scene of the incident.
As she was being walked out of a police station in handcuffs Tuesday afternoon, a tearful Beauvais told reporters: “I’m sorry because I hit him and that he’s dead.”
At the time of the crash, the 32-year-old's driver's license was apparently suspended for failure to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment in relation to a speeding conviction, according to police.
The tearful apology is too late to save the father of two, said Pat Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association. Lynch spoke just after Beauvais' court hearing, on behalf of colleagues who mourned Tsakos' death.
"Her choices led to the death of a New York City police officer," Lynch said. "Yes, she’s sorry – not for the debt – but that she got caught."
Outside the Hempstead home Beauvais shares with her son, neighbors said they were also stunned by her actions.
"When someone drives irresponsibly, it’s not about them. It’s about the other person, so this innocent family...I’m just so sorry," neighbor Earlene Hooper said.
The fallen officer was a 14-year veteran of the police department who leaves a wife, a 6-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, officials said. A caravan of police escorted the Tsakos' body to the medical examiner's office later that day. The 43-year-old's neighbors echoed the department's praises for the officer, from outside his Long Island home where he moved last September to his old Flushing, Queens, community.
"I feel like lost my brother. I'm still shaking, at a loss for words," said Anna Yiatrou.
Top city officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, lamented the senselessness of the cop's death.
"He's dead before he was at an accident where people had driven recklessly also with a suspended license," de Blasio said. "He's dead because of other people's negligence."
Beauvais remains in custody without bail and funeral arraignments for Tsakos are still in the works.