May 26, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A Long Island woman has pleaded not guilty for allegedly driving drunk and killing an NYPD Highway officer on the Long Island Expressway last month.
Jessica Beauvais, 32, was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Tuesday faced with a slew of charges for allegedly striking Officer Anastasios Tsakos dead with her vehicle while drunk and on drugs in the early hours of April 27.
Beauvais was charged with three counts of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless driving for plowing her 2013 Volkswagen Passat into Tsakos, sending him airborne into a nearby patch of grass, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
She was also charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and fleeing from police after she continued driving. Beauvais was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .15 – nearly twice the legal limit, according to the charges.
Tsakos, a 14-year veteran of the department, was hit by Beauvais at around 2 a.m. while he was diverting traffic on the highway following a prior crash. She hit him with so much force that he was thrown nearly 40 feet in the air, severing one of his legs, according to published reports.
Officer Tsakos was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Beauvais, of Hempstead, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
She appeared handcuffed in court wearing a khaki jumpsuit and stayed silent for the hearing.
Her attorney entered a not-guilty plea. Beauvais had previously apologized for her actions, telling reporters last month “I’m sorry that I hit him and that he’s dead.”
No bail was set.
“This is a heartbreaking case that has left the police officer’s parents, his widow and their two young children and our entire community mourning his loss,” District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement Tuesday. Tsakos leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son.
The 32-year-old was also charged with driving without a license and failure to take due care when approaching an emergency vehicle.
Beauvais, after hitting Tsakos, continued driving before taking the Horace Harding Expressway ramp. She jumped the curb and mounted the sidewalk, where police surrounded her vehicle.
She then attempted to flee and put her car in reverse, ramming the police vehicle behind her before coming to a complete stop. Officers then arrested her and took her to the 112th Precinct house in Forest Hills.
Beauvais was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month and was ordered back to court in July.