In White Plains, New York, two men lost their lives because of a wrong-way crash. Off-duty New York City police officer, Richard E. Christopher, age 32, and James DeVito, 59, an executive chef at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh were killed.
According to authorities, Christopher was the cause of the crash, driving the wrong way on the Thruway. Although the accident occurred last month, toxicology results were not made available in the case until yesterday. The state police just announced that Christopher’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit of 0.21. The report also cleared him of having any drugs in his system.
The accident occurred before 7:00 am, which involved a drunken Christopher driving his 2002 Dodge Dakota pickup truck in the southbound lanes of the northbound Thruway close to Suffern. Without time to avoid the collision, his truck slammed into the Honda CRV driven by DeVito.
Christopher worked at the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx and lived nearby with his girlfriend and young son. Devito’s father released a statement saying that it is a real shame that his son, a beautiful person, musician, master chef, and great family man lost his life because of a drunken police officer.
Witnesses said that Christopher had made an illegal U-turn just prior to the crash. Although he was drunk, his family said they thought he was going into work. However, Capt. Richard Mazzone with the state police said after conducting an investigation, it was determined that he was going home after being at a friend’s house, not going to work as believed.
After being advised of the toxicology report, the family was asked if they wanted to make a statement but as expected, they declined. Sadly, this crash happened shortly after the five-year anniversary of one of the worst motor tragedies in recent New York History when in 2009, high on marijuana and with a blood alcohol level of 0.19, Diane Schuler drove the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway, killing eight people, four of them children.