An NYPD highway cop was convicted on multiple charges for a hit-and-run incident that resulted in the death of Officer Anastasios Tsakos. The defendant, who was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and vodka, was found guilty of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident by a Queens Supreme Court jury. The verdict was reached in just over three hours.
The defendant, who appeared in court wearing a pearl necklace and diamond earrings, showed no emotion upon hearing the guilty verdicts. Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association, expressed relief at the outcome and stated that justice had been served. The defendant, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly double the legal limit, faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in prison at the scheduled December 14 sentencing.
The incident occurred on April 27, 2021, when the defendant, driving a 2013 Volkswagen Passat, struck Officer Tsakos while he was directing traffic on the Long Island Expressway. Tsakos was thrown into the air and landed approximately 170 feet away, losing his left leg in the process. The defendant, whose driver’s license had been suspended, ignored warning signs, flashing lights, and traffic cones before fleeing the scene.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz emphasized that the defendant’s decision to drive under the influence had tragic consequences, leaving Tsakos’ widow to raise their two young children without their father. The trial revealed that the defendant had criticized police earlier on the day of the incident, following the guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd.
During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Greg Lasak presented evidence that the defendant had driven at high speed, striking Tsakos with such force that his body smashed into the hood of his car, rolled up the windshield, and hit the roof. The jury found the prosecution’s case compelling and delivered a guilty verdict.
The conviction of the defendant brings some closure to the tragic hit-and-run incident that claimed the life of Officer Tsakos. The sentencing hearing on December 14 will determine the length of the defendant’s prison term.