Police officer charged in fatal crash

The Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice has ap­proved crim­in­al charges against a city po­lice of­ficer in con­nec­tion with a Sept. 14 auto crash in Holmes­burg that claimed a Fishtown man’s life.

Sgt. Thomas Win­kis, an aide to Deputy Com­mis­sion­er Thomas Wright, was to sur­render to au­thor­it­ies some­time this week, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­wo­man for the dis­trict at­tor­ney, Tasha Jamer­son. His sur­render and form­al ar­raign­ment were pending on Monday af­ter­noon. Win­kis will be charged with driv­ing while un­der the in­flu­ence, hom­icide by vehicle while DUI, in­vol­un­tary man­slaughter and reck­less en­dan­ger­ment.

The DA ap­proved the charges on Fri­day as the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment an­nounced the sus­pen­sion and planned dis­missal of Win­kis, who was charged ad­min­is­trat­ively by the de­part­ment with DUI while off-duty, as well as “en­ga­ging in any ac­tion that con­sti­tutes the com­mis­sion of a felony or mis­de­mean­or.”

The crash oc­curred at about 11:50 p.m. at State Road and Ash­burn­er Street in Holmes­burg. Win­kis and a wo­man pas­sen­ger were trav­el­ing south­bound on State Road in a 2012 Dodge Char­ger, which struck an east­bound 1994 Ford Eco­n­oline van be­ing driv­en by Dav­id Far­ries. The im­pact ejec­ted Far­ries from his vehicle, who was in­jured crit­ic­ally and died on Sept. 17 at Aria Health-Tor­res­dale. He was 55 and sur­vived by four daugh­ters and sev­en grand­chil­dren.

Win­kis suffered non­life-threat­en­ing in­jur­ies, was treated at the same hos­pit­al and re­leased. Au­thor­it­ies did not re­port any in­jur­ies to Win­kis’ pas­sen­ger.

Win­kis had a flash­ing yel­low light at the in­ter­sec­tion and Far­ries a flash­ing red light, po­lice said. Yet, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by 6abc.com, ac­ci­dent in­vest­ig­at­ors de­term­ined that Win­kis was trav­el­ing at 101 m.p.h. at the time of im­pact. His blood-al­co­hol level was meas­ured at 0.17 per­cent, in ex­cess of the leg­al lim­it of 0.08, the news sta­tion re­por­ted, cit­ing uniden­ti­fied sources.

Pri­or to the an­nounce­ment of crim­in­al charges, re­l­at­ives and friends of the vic­tim held a candle­light vi­gil on Sept. 25 at the in­ter­sec­tion while call­ing for the ar­rest of Win­kis. Re­l­at­ives also had cre­ated a “Justice for Dav­id Far­ries” Face­book page. At the time, the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice an­nounced that an in­vest­ig­a­tion of the case was in pro­gress.

The ac­ci­dent was the second tragedy in­volving the Win­kis fam­ily with­in days. Win­kis’ former wife and fel­low po­lice of­ficer, Michelle Win­kis, died on Sept. 7 days after col­lapsing from a brain an­eurysm while on duty. Friends hos­ted a fun­draiser for the couple’s chil­dren on Sept. 12. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus