Autopsy may yield clues on death: Cops

By Alicia Guide

More than a week after his death, it was unclear whether the popular 1995 Bayside High School graduate was struck by a vehicle as he crossed the Clearview, fell from the 26th Avenue overpass and died instantly when he hit the expressway, or fell and was killed when he was struck by a car, said Detective Tom McPhadzen of the Highway Patrol 3 Accident Investigation Squad.

McPhadzen said the death of Hakis, who lived at 28-35 210th Place, was being investigated as an accident until the autopsy results came back.

According to the police report filed with the 109th Precinct, around 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7, an officer from the Queens North Evidence Collection Unit responded to a call that an unconscious person had been found on the Clearview Expressway.

Community Affairs Officer Steve Pohalski of the 109th Precinct, said when the officer arrived at the scene, he found a man lying face down on the highway.

EMS pronounced the man dead at 7:27 p.m., Pohalski said.

At the time of the accident the victim could not be positively identified from an ID picture found in his pocket because he had been so badly injured, Pohalski said.

“There was definitely vehicle contact,” but Hakis might have been dead before he was run over on the highway, McPhadzen said. Hakis could have fallen from the 26th Avenue overpass and died instantly when he hit the highway, he said.

He might have fallen from the overpass and died when he was struck by a car, McPhadzen said. It is also possible that Hakis was never on the overpass that night. He might have been fatally hit trying to cross the highway, the detective said.

McPhadzen said he will not know how Hakis died until he obtains the autopsy results from the city medical examiner Sunday.

The autopsy results will also show whether there were alcohol or drugs in Hakis's system, McPhadzen said.

“As of now we're looking into it as an accident,” McPhadzen said.

McPhadzen asked anyone who saw a young man on the 26th Avenue overpass or the Clearview Expressway Feb. 7 to call him at 217-3523.

Hakis's aunt, Debbie Nikolos, said Hakis “was loved by everyone. He was loved by the young, he was loved by the old. He was a leader to all his friends.”

“He was a clown,” she said. “He made everybody laugh.”

More than 600 people attended his wake Thursday at Lloyd Funeral Home in Bayside, Nikolos said. Funeral services were held Friday.

Piles of flowers and notes from friends line the guard rail under the Clearview Expressway overpass where Hakis died.

On Sunday night, friends held a candlelight vigil for Hakis in the park across from Bayside High School, where he used to play sports, his aunt said.

Sharon Zito, one of Hakis' best friends and his ex-girlfriend, said Hakis was “very loving. He would never hurt anybody.”

“Him doing drugs I don't see at all,” Zito said. “He was a always happy, always joking, never mean to anyone. I can't think of one enemy he had. And that was his life.”

“I'm glad I had him in my life,” she said.

Hakis worked at the front desk at the Glen Oaks Country Club in Westbury, Nikolos said.

“He was known for selling souvlaki all night long on Bell Boulevard with his uncle,” his aunt said.

Hakis “loved basketball and working out at the gym,” Nikolos said.

“Whoever he knew he touched,” she said.

One of Hakis' next-door neighbors who would not identify himself described him as a “nice kid.”

“Other than that I don't know what to say,” the neighbor said. “It's just a sad thing that happened.”