Long Island woman sentenced to more than two decades in prison for 2021 hit-and-run that killed NYPD cop: DA

Jessica Beauvais was sentenced Wednesday for driving this vehicle during a fatal 2021 hit-and-run collision on the Long Island Expressway in Fresh Meadows.
Photo courtesy of the DA’s office

A Long Island woman was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for speeding through an NYPD roadblock while drunk and killing a highway patrolman in a 2021 hit-and-run collision on the Long Island Expressway in Fresh Meadows.

Jessica Beauvais, 35, of Myrtle Avenue in Hempstead, was convicted in October of aggravated manslaughter and other crimes following a 13-day trial in Queens Supreme Court. Beauvais had a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit two hours after plowing into Detective Anastasios Tsakos while he was diverting traffic around another fatal collision, and then speeding away from the scene of the collision.

NYPD Detective Anastasios Tsakos grew up in Astoria after his family settled after living in Greece. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

According to the charges and trial testimony, on Apr. 27, 2021, at approximately 1:45 a.m. Tsakos and his highway patrol partner placed traffic cones and a marked vehicle on the eastbound side of the Long Island Expressway near the Clearview Expressway exit to direct traffic around a fatal crash. Tsakos was standing just beyond the roadblock, at approximately 1:57 a.m., when Beauvais sped through the traffic cones behind the wheel of a 2013 Volkswagen Passat and struck him. The impact threw Tsakos and severed his left leg at the knee. His body landed nearly 170 feet away along the side of the highway.

Without stopping, Beauvais, whose license had been suspended, sped from the scene and exited the Long Island Expressway with the NYPD in pursuit for nearly three miles. She eventually drove up on a sidewalk in front of 221-22 Horace Harding Expwy. in Oakland Gardens, put her vehicle in reverse and stuck a police cruiser behind her. Beauvais was pulled from her vehicle by police and arrested.

She had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. Two hours after the fatal collision, she had a blood alcohol content of .15, nearly twice the legal maximum threshold of .08. She told police that she had smoked marijuana and drank wine earlier that evening.

“Her license had been suspended, she was drunk and had been smoking marijuana,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “For everyone’s safety and wellbeing, including her own, the defendant should not have been behind the wheel of a car.”

After he was struck by Beauvais, Tsakos was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries shortly afterward. Born in New England, Tsakos’ family moved to Greece before returning to the United States when he was 14 and settling in Astoria where he went to high school. The 14-year NYPD veteran was promoted posthumously to first-grade detective by then NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea at his funeral in East Northport where he lived with his wife Irene and their two children.

Tsakos was survived by his wife Irene and their young daughter and son. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

“A police officer, doing his job protecting others, lost his life,” Katz said. “I hope today’s sentence provides at least some closure for the detective’s loved ones.”

NYPD officers carry Tsakos’ casket at his funeral. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise sentenced Beauvais to 20 years in prison on the aggravated manslaughter charge; and to two-and-one-third to seven years in prison for leaving the scene of an incident. The sentences are to run consecutively, followed by five years post-release supervision.

“We are relieved that this individual who was drunk and high, then decided to get behind the wheel of a car and mowed down our brother police officer Anastasios Tsakos and then fled the scene without regard to human life is going to be behind bars for long, long time,” PBA President Patrick Hendry said surrounded by dozens of highway patrolmen on the courthouse steps following the sentencing.

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

“This is heartbreaking for this family. This was a dedicated, hard working New York City police officer who gave everything to this city, everything to his family. We are going to be there for this family for anything they might need at any time and we will always honor our hero brother.”