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Thursday, September 18, 2014


Original Story: USAToday.com

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The off-duty New York City police officer at the wheel in a fatal wrong-way crash on the Thruway last month had a blood-alcohol content of nearly three times the legal limit, state police announced Wednesday.

Toxicology results show that Richard E. Christopher, 32, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.21 percent when he drove his 2002 Dodge Dakota in the southbound lanes of the northbound Thruway near Suffern, slamming head-on into a Honda CRV driven by James DeVito of Airmont. A BAC above 0.08 is a misdemeanor. A Nyack DWI Lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

Both men were killed in the crash, which occurred just before 7 a.m. on Aug. 12.

No drugs were found in Christopher's system. Christopher was assigned to the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx and lived on South Airmont Road in Airmont with his girlfriend and her son.

DeVito had no drugs or alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash, state police said.

DeVito, 59, a recent widower, was the executive chef at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, where he was an employee of Sodexo, a food services company. A Suffern DWI Lawyer is following this story closely.

DeVito's father, Joseph DeVito Sr., who lives in Peoria, Ariz., was shocked to hear of the finding.

"The fact that he is a police officer and drunk makes no sense at all," DeVito said. "It's a sorry shame. My son was a beautiful guy. He was a master chef, he was a musician, he was a good family man."

The officer's family said at the time that they believed he had been headed to work. However, state police Capt. Richard Mazzone said Wednesday that the investigation determined Christopher was not going to work that morning but was headed home from a friend's place in Orangetown.

Christopher's family was told Wednesday of the autopsy results but did not wish to comment on them, his sister, Melissa Castillo, said at the family's home in Nyack.

Investigators say two witnesses reported that Christopher was traveling north in the northbound lanes before making an illegal U-turn and driving south in the wrong direction.

The collision occurred just after the five-year anniversary of one of the most horrific motor vehicles crashes in recent memory.

On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler was high on marijuana and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent when she drove the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway, slamming into another vehicle and killing eight people, including four children.