Jessica Beauvais of Hempstead is led from the courtroom at the...

Jessica Beauvais of Hempstead is led from the courtroom at the Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday during her trial for the 2021 crash on the LIE in Queens that killed NYPD Det. Anastasios Tsakos of East Northport. Credit: ED QUINN

The Hempstead woman on trial for allegedly running down and killing NYPD detective Anastasios Tsakos in 2021 on the LIE while drunk had hit average speeds topping 80 mph just before her sedan plowed into the highway officer in Queens, a police expert testified Wednesday.

NYPD Sgt. Robert Denig told a Queens jury how he reconstructed estimates of the Volkswagen sedan's average speed by computing the distance covered after viewing highway traffic footage and noting the recorded video time stamps.

It was then a matter of computing speed by using the “known distance and known elapsed time,” said Denig, a traffic reconstruction specialist, of his methodology.

Jessica Beauvais, 34, is on trial in Queens State Supreme Court on charges of second-degree aggravated manslaughter, aggravated criminally negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving stemming from the April 27, 2021, collision that killed Tsakos, 43, an East Northport resident who was married and had two children. In the moments before he was hit, Tsakos had been staffing a police roadblock at eastbound Exit 26 on the Long Island Expressway in Queens because of an accident further east at Exit 27.

Prosecutors and police said a drunk Beauvais, single with a young son, drove through the roadblock and diverted traffic on the service road before striking Tsakos, sending him catapulting about 150 feet. The impact severed Tsakos’s lower left leg and killed him instantly.

Defense attorneys for Beauvais have previously indicated she may have been traveling about 55 mph just before hitting Tsakos on a section of the roadway where the speed limit is 50 mph.

Beauvais's average speed from the time she left a Brooklyn studio early on April 27, 2021 — where she made a podcast and allegedly drank alcohol — to immediately after the collision on the LIE, ranged at various times from 56 to as high as 84 mph, Denig said. Immediately after the sedan struck Tsakos, it's speed dropped to an average of 56 mph before accelerating to as much as an average of 78.42 mph, he testified.

Denig acknowledged under questioning by assistant district attorney Danielle O’Boyle that "average speed" meant that at various times Beauvais’s vehicle, which was heavily damaged, could have been traveling faster or slower than the speed computed. He didn’t estimate the speed of Beauvais’s car when it struck Tsakos.

Earlier Wednesday, in an apparent effort to show that Beauvais was drinking that night, prosecutors played a heavily edited social media video she had made in which she is seen drinking an unidentified red liquid from a plastic cup and saying how much she liked marijuana. Two hours after the crash, prosecutors said, Beauvais had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in New York State. Cops who arrested Beauvais said her car reeked from the smell of marijuana.

The video segment was part of a larger social media posting, not shown, in which Beauvais reportedly made disparaging comments toward police.

The case continues Thursday before Judge Michael Aloise.

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