QUEENS — The NYPD identified the officer struck and killed by an intoxicated driver early Tuesday in Queens as a veteran member of the force with over a decade of service under his belt.
Officer Anastasios Tsakos, 43, joined the NYPD 14 years ago and worked on Highway Unit district 3, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a news briefing Tuesday.
Shea said members of his unit described Tsakos as “the best of the best,” and a person who would never ask why, just “what do you need done?”
He leaves behind a wife and two young children, a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“They will never see their father again because somebody did the wrong thing,” the mayor said.
De Blasio said he and the commissioner spent time with Tsakos’ widow early Tuesday after the deadly crash.
“The pain she is going through there are no words for,” de Blasio said. “A few hours ago she was looking forward to seeing her husband again, and now she won’t.”
The mayor called Tsakos a “hero officer,” mentioning that he was working to protect New Yorkers when he was fatally struck.
Tsakos was directing traffic, diverting vehicles off the Long Island Expressway after an earlier crash when a car veered and struck him head on, police said.
The car sped off, but police were able to catch up to it a short time later and took the driver, a 32-year-old Long Island woman, into custody, according to authorities.
Shea said the driver was intoxicated and driving with a suspended license when she struck and killed Tsakos. She is now facing a slew of charges, including vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, according to police.
“He did everything right in his life for us, and he is dead because of other people’s negligence,” de Blasio said.
“This family will never be whole again,” the mayor said before vowing that the city and NYPD will do whatever they can to support Tsakos’ children and grieving wife.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, urged New Yorkers to take a moment to think about police officers beyond the badge.
“Under that uniform, behind that stern face, was a father, was a husband, was someone that was trying to put their life together for the future of their family,” Lynch said, his voice cracking as he was overcome with emotion.