A 43-year-old NYPD officer died of his injuries after being struck by a drunk driver with a suspended license on the Long Island Expressway in Queens early Tuesday, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
Anastasio Tsakos, a 14-year veteran who was assigned to Highway 3, was the father of a 6-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, Shea said at a press conference.
The highway officer was investigating a previous accident on the highway in Fresh Meadows around 2 a.m. when he was struck head-on by a 2013 Volkswagen, according to Shea.
Tsakos was taken to New York-Presbyterian Queens, where he died.
The driver of the Volkswagen, a 32-year-old woman from Hempstead who was allegedly driving under the influence and with a suspended license, was apprehended nearby.
She faces charges up to vehicular manslaughter, he said.
“We stand here this morning reminded once again in law enforcement, there is no such thing as a routine job,” Shea said. “We stand here devastated and trying to pick up the pieces of what is a shattered home, and a shattered NYPD family.”
Tsakos was directing traffic following a prior accident that happened on the eastbound Long Island Expressway ramp to the Clearview Expressway, Shea said.
Three people were injured in that crash, one critically. As Tsakos was directing traffic, he was struck by the passing Volkswagen.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press conference that Tsakos “is dead because he was at an accident where people had driven recklessly also with a suspended license — we see here a horrendous pattern.
“A hero officer who did everything right in his life for us. And he is dead because of other people’s negligence,” Hizzoner said, adding that he and Shea had just spent time with the officer’s widow, Irene.
“A few hours ago, she was looking forward to seeing her husband again and now she won’t,” de Blasio said.