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Hempstead woman indicted in hit-and-run that killed NYPD officer, Queens DA says

Jessica Beauvais, of Hempstead, is led out of

Jessica Beauvais, of Hempstead, is led out of the 107th Precinct in Queens for arraignment at Queens Criminal Court on April 27, 2021.  Credit: James Carbone

The Hempstead woman accused of striking and killing an NYPD officer while driving intoxicated on the Long Island Expressway last month was charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and other crimes in a 13-count indictment unsealed Monday, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Jessica Beauvais, 32, will be arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on May 25, Katz said. Beauvais faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Katz said Beauvais’s vehicle struck NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos on the LIE at high speed early on April 27 and kept going, authorities said.

"There is a list of bad choices, from drinking and getting high and getting behind the wheel of a car, that ended tragically with the defendant running down Highway Officer Anastasios Tsakos and then trying to get away," Katz said.

Beauvais' attorney, Jorge Santos of Queens, declined to comment Monday on the indictment. Beauvais apologized tearfully when detectives escorted her out of the 107th Precinct for her arraignment last month.

"I'm sorry," said Beauvais, who was ordered held without bail. "I'm sorry that I hit him and that he's dead."

Beauvais told detectives she drank wine and tequila before the crash and had also smoked marijuana, police said.

Tsakos, a father of two, was posthumously promoted to detective. His funeral, which drew thousands of police officers and supporters, was held last week in Greenlawn.

Tsakos and other NYPD officers responded to the scene of a one-car crash on the Long Island Expressway ramp entrance to the Clearview Expressway, Katz said. A driver headed eastbound on the LIE lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a wall. The driver and two passengers had to be pulled from the vehicle after it caught on fire. A third passenger died at the scene.

The driver, Jonathan Espinal, 24, of Queens, was driving with a suspended license and was charged with aggravated unlicensed driving.

Tsakos was directing traffic when Beauvais, driving a 2013 Volkswagen Passat eastbound on the expressway at a high speed, approached the scene of the crash and hit Tsakos. Katz said Beauvais did not stop or slow down and continued to drive past several off-ramps before exiting.

Beauvais attempted to flee after she was surrounded by police. She put her Passat into reverse and rammed a police car before coming to a full stop, Katz said.

Beauvais’ blood alcohol content was 0.15% two hours after the fatal accident, Katz said, nearly double the legal limit of 0.08% in New York State.

Tsakos was rushed to a nearby hospital but died as a result of his injuries.

The cost of Tsakos' funeral was paid for by the Promise of Hope Foundation of Copiague, Suffolk Police Benevolent Association first vice president Louis Tutone said. The humanitarian organization founded by Long Island business owners also covered funeral costs for Andrew McMorris, the 12-year-old Boy Scout killed by a drunken driver in 2018, and Michael McDermott, a Kings Park teacher killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2019.

"A few generous individuals took extraordinary measures to ensure the Tsakos family would be without financial burden from the loss of their husband, father and brother," Suffolk PBA president Noel DiGerolamo said. "We applaud the Promise of Hope organization and are proud to play a small part in honoring this hero, NYPD Officer Anastasio Tsakos."

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