Fellow police officers are remembering NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos, a 14-year veteran of the force, as a wonderful man and a hero.
But to his neighbours, the man known as “Taso” was an incredibly loving and involved father.
When he wasn't patrolling Queens' busy roadways, he could be found drawing pictures in chalk with his two young kids outside their new home in East Northport.
He was fatally struck by a passing vehicle while diverting traffic from a previous fatal crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens, in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of a valued member of @NYPDHighway Unit #3, Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos, whom was killed in the line of duty this morning on the Long Island Expressway,” Inspector Nicole Papamichael, tweeted after his death.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the motorist, Jessica Beauvais, who struck Tsakos was driving while intoxicated on a suspended driver’s license. She has since been arrested and is facing several charges, including vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I hit him and that he’s dead..” - 32 year Jessica Beauvais, accused of driving intoxicated, with a suspended license, and killing #NYPD Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos this morning. #BREAKING @NYPDnews @NYPDHighway @ABC7NY pic.twitter.com/AVouFfSkS3
— Stacey Sager (@staceysager7) April 27, 2021
"We stand here this morning reminded once again, in law enforcement, there is no such thing as a routine job," Shea said.
"We stand here devastated and trying to pick up the pieces of what is a shattered home and a shattered NYPD family."
Officer Tsakos was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
He is survived by his wife Irene, 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
The tragic death of NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos, while serving his community, reminds us that first responders, police, fire, medical, always place their lives on the line. May his memory be eternal.
— Elpidophoros (@Elpidophoros) April 27, 2021
Tsakos' family worried about the veteran NYPD highway officer's safety but understood his devotion to the profession.
"You worry all the time," his younger brother Teddy Tsakos told Newsday. "But this was what he liked … And you’ve got to be happy for him. This is what he wanted to do. This is what he chose. You worry about everything."