The Long Island woman who struck and killed an NYPD officer on the Long Island Expressway near Fresh Meadows while allegedly driving drunk was charged with manslaughter Tuesday, April 27, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
If convicted, Jessica Beauvais, a 32-year-old woman from Hempstead, faces up to 15 years in prison after she allegedly ran over NYPD Highway Patrol Officer Anastasios Tsakos while he was responding to the scene of a different crash on the Long Island Expressway ramp to the Clearview Expressway in the early morning hours of April 27.
Beauvais was slapped with a 13-count complaint in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday, which included charges for driving while intoxicated and fleeing from a police officer.
Around 12:30 a.m., Tsakos was one of several officers to respond to the scene of a fatal crash on the Long Island Expressway, after a driver heading east on the LIE lost control of the car and ran into a concrete wall, according to the police. The car burst into flames, killing one of the driver’s three passengers, cops said. The driver and the two other passengers were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated.
While investigating the crash, Tsakos took traffic control duty, directing oncoming drivers around the crash scene, when Beauvais came speeding down the LIE, Katz said.
Beauvais, who was driving a 2013 Volkswagen Passat with a suspended license, hit Tsakos, who was thrown into the air and onto a nearby patch of grass, according to the charges.
Tsakos was taken to a nearby hospital but soon died of his injuries.
The Long Island woman continued to drive down the LIE, fleeing police for several exits before she turned onto the Horace Harding Expressway, according to the DA.
Almost immediately, Beauvais jumped the curb in front of 221-22 Horace Harding Expressway and was surrounded by police. In one final attempt to flee, Beauvais backed her car into a police car behind her twice before coming to a full stop, the charges claim.
Beauvais was taken to the 112th Precinct where she was given an intoxilyzer test, two hours after she had hit the officer, Katz said. The test found Beauvais to have a blood alcohol content of 0.15, well above the legal limit of 0.08, according to the charges.
Tsakos’ death prompted response from police and elected officials throughout the city Tuesday.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tsakos, who leaves behind his wife and two young children, was a 14 year veteran and well respected member of the NYPD.
“The loss of life of a police officer who was out there on that highway and whose mission, in the purest sense, was keeping people safe is a profound tragedy,” Shea said. “The fact that that life was taken by a driver whose license had been suspended, and who was intoxicated, is nothing short of criminal and should be treated that way.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the tragic events that led to Tsakos’ death.
“We see here a horrendous pattern of people doing the wrong thing and other people dead because of it,” de Blasio said Tuesday. “And one of them a hero officer who did everything right in his life for us. And he is dead because of other people’s negligence.”
Beauvais is currently being held pending her arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.