A Hempstead woman declined a plea bargain offer Friday and is now slated to go on trial next month on charges she fatally struck NYPD Det. Anastasios Tsakos while driving drunk on the Long Island Expressway in 2021.
During a brief proceeding in Queens State Supreme Court, Jessica Beauvais, 34, indicated to Judge Michael Aloise that she realized that by passing up a prosecution plea offer of 16 years in prison that she risked a maximum sentence of at least 20 years in prison if she is convicted at trial. With Beauvais’s refusal to accept the plea, Aloise set Oct. 12 as the date to begin jury selection.
Beauvais has been in jail since April 27, 2021, when investigators said she ignored a police roadblock at eastbound Exit 26 on the LIE being manned by Tsakos, 43, of East Northport. She fatally struck Tsakos, who was there directing traffic on to the service road because of a fatal accident further east on the highway, police said.
Beauvais, who police said was intoxicated, kept going after hitting Tsakos until she was stopped by police and arrested on the Horace Harding Expressway near Exit 29, authorities said. Beauvais was indicted on charges including manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving.
Aloise said he planned to call 100 potential jurors to be screened for the case and expected the prosecution, led by assistant district attorney Gregory Lasak Jr., to call about 20 witnesses.
Tsakos, a married father of two children, was promoted to the rank of detective posthumously. His wife, Irene, was in court with about 20 officers and officials from the Police Benevolent Association but declined to comment outside the courtroom.
While a trial date has been set in the case, defense attorney Jorge Santos of the Legal Aid Society indicated after the hearing that it was possible that a trial might still be avoided.
“You never know," said Santos, adding that Beauvais, a single mother with a young son, “is not a gangster.”
Outside the courthouse, PBA president Patrick Hendry said cops planned to pack the courtroom in support of the family if there is a trial.
“The family wanted closure and they still want closure. They want this trial because they want justice,” Hendry said. “We are going to pack this courtroom, to be there for this family that is going to have to relive the pain each and every day.”