QUEENS, N.Y. (WPIX) — A veteran New York police officer was killed overnight on a Queens highway when he was struck by an intoxicated driver who initially fled the scene, according to police.
New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea identified the victim as 43-year-old highway officer Anastasios Tsakos at a Tuesday morning press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The officer was helping divert traffic off the Long Island Expressway at around 2 a.m. after an earlier accident when a car veered and struck him head-on before speeding off, police said.
Tsakos was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but later died, the NYPD said.
A 14-year member of the force, Tsakos leaves behind a wife and two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, de Blasio said.
Police caught up to the car a short time later and took the driver, 32-year-old Jessica Beauvais, of Long Island, into custody, authorities said.
According to the commissioner, the woman was intoxicated and driving with a suspended license when she hit the officer.
Police later said Beauvais is facing a slew of charges, including vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed driving, reckless driving and more.
When asked if police believe Beauvais was aware she hit the officer, Shea said, “When you see the images of her car and the windshield that is completely shattered, there is no way to not know that you struck an individual.”
Part of the eastbound side of the Long Island Express was closed Tuesday morning as authorities continued their investigation.
Watch the NYPD and mayor’s press conference in full below: