NEW YORK - An NYPD officer was killed by a hit-and-run driver early Tuesday while directing traffic on the Long Island Expressway in Queens. The suspect had allegedly recorded an anti-police podcast earlier in the evening.
The deadly crash happened around 2 a.m. at the scene of what was believed to be an earlier DUI crash that was being investigated.
Officer Anastasios Tsakos, 43, had been directing traffic off of the LIE near Francis Lewis Boulevard. NYPD was investigating a single-car crash and car fire that killed one person around 12:30 a.m. when he was hit and thrown a considerable distance. The car kept going despite having a smashed windshield.
The 14-year veteran of the force was rushed to NY Presbyterian Hospital-Queens in critical condition but he died a short time later.
32-year-old Jessica Beauvais of Hempstead was arrested in the officer's death a short time later. The NYPD says she was intoxicated and driving with a suspended license. She was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, leaving an accident that resulted in death, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, and several other charges.
As she was escorted out of the police station she apologized to Officer Taskos' family.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I hit him and that he is dead," Beauvais said as she walked out of the 107 police precinct in handcuffs and crying.
She claimed he was in a studio all night recording her podcast. Video of that podcast that was posted on Facebook showed her using multiple expletives to describe law enforcement.
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Beauvais remained jailed Tuesday night after her arraignment. She said she was a single mother caring for her child.
Tsakos leaves behind a wife and two young children
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had spoken to the officer's widow, Irene.
"A few hours ago she was looking forward to seeing her husband again and now she won’t," the mayor said. "He leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter, a 3-year-old son. They will never see their father again because somebody did the wrong thing."