The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
Rank: Detective First Grade
Shield Number: 9005
Command: Highway Unit Patrol #3
Date of Death: 04/27/2021
Cause of Death: Hit and Run Driver
Detective First Grade Anastasios (“Tasso”) Tsakos was a Police Officer with Highway Patrol Unit #3 when he was killed in the line of duty. The 43-year-old Officer was assigned to the Accident Collision Squad during the overnight shift on April 27, 2021. He was securing an earlier fatal accident scene on the Long Island Expressway when, at approximately 2:00 a.m., he was forcefully hit by a 2013 Volkswagen driven by an intoxicated driver with a suspended license. The driver fled the scene, but was chased down and arrested by NYPD Officers.
Officer Tsakos, who had been standing by his marked patrol car when he was struck, later died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens.
Thousands of mourners attended the Officer’s funeral at the Saint Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine Church in Suffolk County, Long Island where his widow Irene eulogized her husband as “the love of my life.” It was noted by then-Police Commissioner Dermot Shea that Det. Tsakos was so devoted to the job that he had taken only three sick days in 14 years and testified for victims in court on his own time. He had made more than 200 career arrests and was posthumously promoted to Detective First Grade and assigned gold shield #9005 at his funeral.
Jessica Beauvais, the drunk driver who killed Det. Tsakos, went on trial in Queens Supreme Court on August 9, 2022, and final arguments were made on October 30, 2023. Charges included manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of a fatal incident. She faced more than 15 years in prison. On Tuesday, October 31, 2023, the jury in Queens Supreme Court handed down a guilty verdict on all counts. Sentencing was scheduled for December 14, 2023.
The night she killed Det. Tsakos, Beauvais registered twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system and admitted to having smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel of her car. When taken into custody, she was belligerent and cursing at police. She was held without bail.
“I just want justice for my husband,” said Irene. “He was such a selfless human being,” she adds, something that was reflected by his life in public service.
Det. Tsakos was born in the United States, but spent his childhood years in Greece. As a teen he returned to the United States and attended Saint Demetrios High School in Astoria, Queens. After attending Dowling College in Long Island, he travelled back to Greece and served in the Greek Army, finishing his national service as a Second Lieutenant. He returned to the United States and joined the NYPD in 2007. He worked in the 75th and 83rd Precincts before he joined the Highway Unit in 2014.
Det. Tsakos had the reputation of being a dedicated and productive Officer, a wonderful, generous friend and neighbor, a family man who loved spending time with his children, and a talented woodworker in his off hours. He was also an accomplished pilot and a motorcycle enthusiast.
Irene and Tasso were together for 11 years and married for eight. They have two children. Irene, a Long Island native, met Anastasios at a diner that his brother once owned in Great Neck. Det. Tsakos’ parents, Anna and Stavros, were in Greece at the time of his death and flew back to the United States for the hero’s funeral where Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Church reminded the mourners that Det. Tsakos was taken during Holy Week of the Greek Orthodox religion. He also reminded the patrons that the name Anastasios means “Resurrection.”
The Archbishop eulogized, “Tasso gave up his life in the service of those he was sworn to protect and to serve,” and promised that Tasso’s name would remain “forever in our heats.”
In an effort to fulfill that promise, on Monday, August 15, 2022, a portion of the Long Island Expressway was renamed as the “Det. Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge.” The legislation to accomplish the bridge renaming was sponsored by Queens lawmakers State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. The dedication took place at the corner of Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway. The transit sign hangs above the overpass that borders the 107 and 111 Precincts. On October 11, 2023, an NYPD K-9 was also named in his honor.
Det. Tsakos is interred at Northport Rural Cemetery in East Northport, New York.
For a more complete biography, read the article which appeared in The Gold Shield, Fall 2023 issue: