WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A rookie New Rochelle police officer stood charged with manslaughter and driving while intoxicated Monday night, after police said he was drunk when he crashed his sport-utility vehicle and killed his passenger in White Plains.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, that passenger was a lifelong friend who lived just a few hundred yards away from the officer in Dobbs Ferry.
Late Monday, flowers sat at the scene where longshoreman Isaac Ward, 27, of Dobbs Ferry, lost his life. As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, police said Ward a passenger in a Jeep Grand Cherokee when it slammed into a tree in White Plains early Monday morning.
Behind the wheel was Ward’s friend, New Rochelle police Office Harry Kyreakedes. Police said the off-duty officer was drunk.
“The officer preliminarily did have a blood alcohol level of .23, which is close to three times the legal limit,” said White Plains police Commissioner David Chong.
Ward and Kyreakedes had gone out Sunday night, but they never made it home.
Police said Kyreakedes, 27, a rookie with the force for a year and a half, was driving north on Mamaroneck Avenue near Rutherford Avenue around 3 a.m. when he lost control of the Jeep.
“It hit a parking meter, a traffic sign, and then crashed into a tree on Mamaroneck Avenue,” Chong said.
Both men had to be extricated from the vehicle and rushed to the hospital. Kyreakedes was seriously injured, while Ward died instantly.
Ward’s aunt spoke, but asked to remain anonymous.
“Oh, (he had) the biggest heart you’d ever want to know. He had a great big heart,” she said. “He was a beautiful person through and through. There was nothing you could say bad about Isaac.”
Kyreakedes graduated from the Westchester Police Academy a year ago and joined the New Rochelle Police Department. He now faces years in prison.
CBS2’s Aiello stopped by the officer’s Dobbs Ferry apartment. A neighbor said off camera, “He’s a really great kid who apparently made a bad mistake.”
New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome said the city is aware of Kyreakedes’ crash, but, “There is no further comment pending the criminal investigation.”
Nicholas Foy lost a family member to a drunken driver and left flowers at the scene.
“My heart broke,” Foy said. “To hear that it was a cop drinking and driving and he should’ve known better, and now someone’s life was taken away — way too short.”
“Officers take an oath to protect,” added Chong. “It’s a stark reminder, certainly for my officers who responded to the accident and realized it was an officer from another jurisdiction. It’s a stark reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving.”
There were no skid marks at the scene, and it did not appear that Kyreakedes hit the brakes before the crash, Aiello reported.
Kyreakedes suffered serious leg injuries and spent much of Monday in surgery.