A Long Island woman was convicted by a jury in Queens Supreme Court on aggravated manslaughter and other charges for driving drunk and slamming into NYPD Detective Anastasios Tsakos in a fatal hit-and-run on the Long Island Expressway in 2021.
Jessica Beauvais, 34, of Myrtle Avenue in Hempstead, was found guilty of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting in the collision that left Tsakos with “catastrophic injuries.” He was pronounced dead a short while later.
According to the charges and trial testimony, at around 12:30 a.m. on April 27, 2021, Tsakos, a member of the NYPD Highway Patrol who was raised in Astoria, responded to the scene of a fatal car crash on the eastbound side of the Long Island Expressway at the entrance ramp to the Clearview Expressway. At approximately 1:45 a.m., Tsakos and his partner set up a roadblock that included traffic cones and a marked police vehicle to divert traffic around the crash scene.
Tsakos was standing beyond the roadblock at approximately 1:57 a.m. when Beauvais sped through the traffic cones in a 2013 Volkswagen Passat and struck him, according to the charges. Tsakos was thrown into the air, landing some 170 feet away on the highway’s shoulder. His left leg was severed from the knee down. Tsakos was rushed by EMS to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.
Beauvais sped away, pursued by police for approximately three miles, before exiting onto the Horace Harding Expressway, according to the charges. She drove onto the sidewalk in front of 221-22 Horace Harding Exwy. A police car pulled behind Beauvais, who put her car into reverse and hit the police cruiser. Beauvais was removed from her car and arrested. She had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. Two hours after the incident, she had a blood alcohol content of .15, well above the legal maximum threshold of .08.Beauvais told police she smoked marijuana and drank wine earlier in the day. Records indicated that Beauvais’ license was suspended.
“Her license had been suspended, her blood alcohol level was at nearly twice the legal limit and she had smoked marijuana,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “The defendant had absolutely no business being behind the wheel. Her selfish decision-making and recklessness led to a horrific, senseless tragedy that left Detective Tsakos’ widow to raise their two young children without their father. We are grateful for the jury’s verdict and hope it brings at least some measure of solace to the detective’s loved ones.”
Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise set sentencing for Dec. 14. Beauevais faces up to 27 years in prison.
“On April 21, 2021, Detective Anastasios Tsakos was taken from his family and his brothers and sisters in blue. His senseless death left a void that can never be filled,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said in a statement following the verdict. “As those who loved him continue to cope with the pain of such a tragic loss, I can only hope they take a small measure of comfort knowing the person responsible has now been held accountable. As part of its unwavering commitment to ‘never forget,’ the NYPD will forever honor the sacrifice of our fallen hero and hold close the loved ones who are left behind.”
Tsakos was subsequently promoted to detective posthumously by the NYPD. In August 2022, the overpass over the Long Island Expressway at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway was renamed as “Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge.”