Queens, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) Highway Officer Anastasios Tsakos died in the line of duty early Tuesday morning after he was hit by an impaired driver while directing traffic at a fatality crash scene, according to police.
The incident occurred on the Long Island Expressway in the Clearview neighborhood at approximately 2 a.m., WVIT reported.
The 43-year-old officer was directing traffic at the scene of a fiery fatality crash when a 32-year-old woman in a 2013 Volkswagen slammed into him head-on, according to The New York Times.
The driver immediately fled the scene, leaving Officer Tsakos lying on the pavement.
She was later identified as Jessica Beauvais, WVIT reported.
Officer Tsakos was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, according to The New York Times.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters the damage to the Beauvais’ vehicle was so severe, “there’s no way” she wouldn’t have known she had hit someone, WVIT reported.
Beauvais’ license was suspended at the time of the deadly collision, according to police.
She has since been arrested on a slew of charges, including two counts of vehicular manslaughter, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, leaving an accident resulting in death, aggravated unlicensed operator involving alcohol, and aggravated unlicensed operator, the New York Post reported.
Beauvais has also been charged with misdemeanor offenses of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the fatal crash scene Officer Tsakos was assisting with when he was killed also involved someone driving recklessly with a suspended license, according to WVIT.
“[Officer Tsakos is] dead because of people’s negligence,” de Blasio said.
Officer Tsakos served the NYPD for 14 years.
He was assigned to the department’s Highway 3 unit at the time of his death, according to the New York Post.
The veteran officer was respected and beloved by his fellow officers, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told the paper.
“In the police department, there are two compliments that you can give a fellow police officer that top no other: He’s a cop’s cop and he’s a good guy,” Lynch said. “You heard them both in this emergency room.”
Officer Tsakos leaves behind his wife, Irene, as well as his six-year-old daughter and his three-year-old son, WVIT reported.
A fundraising campaign established to help Officer Tsakos’ family in the wake of their loss has raised over $29,000 so far.
“We stand here this morning reminded once again in law enforcement, there is no such thing as a routine job,” Commissioner Shea said, according to the New York Post. “We stand here devastated and trying to pick up the pieces of what is a shattered home, and a shattered NYPD family.”
Confirmed per NYPD, 43-year-old Officer Anastasios Tsakos was killed while diverting traffic after another fatal accident on the LIE. The woman who hit him police say was driving under the influence with a suspended license, she has been arrested. Full story on @NY1 pic.twitter.com/ibcWkERnCS
— Lindsay Tuchman (@LindsayTuchman) April 27, 2021
This morning, @NYPDHighway Officer Anastasios Tsakos, a husband & father of 2 young kids, was tragically killed while protecting NYers.
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) April 27, 2021
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio brief New Yorkers about the tragic line-of-duty death of an NYPD Highway 3 officer. The officer was at an unrelated vehicle collision in Queens when a driver who was intoxicated struck and killed him.pic.twitter.com/XkTp8QGA3v
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 27, 2021
Killed by an intoxicated driver early this morning, @NYPDHighway Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos loved his family and the city he was dedicated to protecting for the past 14 years. As the NYPD and NYC mourn this tragic loss, we make a solemn vow to #NeverForget Anastasios. pic.twitter.com/kjGADuGzOW
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 27, 2021
The DEA membership stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow cops in the @NYCPBA as we all mourn the tragic line-of-duty death of Officer Anastasios Tsakos, who was killed by a drunk driver this morning in Queens. Our solemn vow is to #NeverForget. pic.twitter.com/0Nao4RBkp2
— Detectives' Endowment Association (@NYCPDDEA) April 27, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Department Highway Officer Anastasios Tsakos, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.