NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver as he was directing traffic away from the scene of an earlier deadly crash, police said.
Officer Anastasios Tsakos, 43, was on the Long Island Expressway in Queens just before 2 a.m. when he was struck by a car driven by a woman who was intoxicated and driving with a suspended license, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a news conference.
Shea said the driver who struck the officer, a 32-year-old woman from Hempstead, was arrested soon after and faces charges up to vehicular manslaughter. Her name was not immediately released.
The fallen officer was a 14-year veteran of the police department who leaves a wife and two young children, officials said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he and Shea had spoken to Tsakos’ 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.”
Tsakos was assisting officers at the scene of an earlier crash in which the driver hit a utility pole, Shea said. A rear passenger in that car was killed, and the car burst into flames.
Shea said officers who arrived at the scene “encountered a car that was on fire. They rushed toward that car, broke a window and pulled people out of the car.
De Blasio said the driver of that car was also driving recklessly and with a suspended license.