DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) -- An off-duty NYPD officer was killed in a wrong-way accident on Long Island just forty minutes after leaving his shift.
Officer Andre Menzies, 35, was killed early Monday morning on his way home from the Queens Housing Bureau.
Menzies' Honda Accord was struck by a Chevy Astro van going the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of the Northern State Parkway just east of Exit 41, CBS 2's John Metaxas reported.
Rescue crews arrived to find Menzies trapped in his vehicle and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reports
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The van's driver, 50-year-old Michael Bowen, of Brooklyn, was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.
Menzies' family and friends gathered Monday, both at his North Babylon residence and his boyhood home in Queens to mourn the devoted husband and father.
Menzies is survived by his wife Natasha and two young children.
The officer's mother, Sheila Menzies said "I don't know what I feel. I'm just hurting. I'm just hurting."
"When I came home then my aunt told me and that's when I started to cry," Tiffany Menzies, the officer's daughter, said.
"It's sad...hard to deal with because he was just here," neighbor Mark Smith said, "he had a lot of hopes, a lot of dreams for his family."
Bowen pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $350,000, but he did not post bail. Bowen could also face further charges, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.
1010 WINS Reporter Sonia Rincon gets details on the fatal crash
Police say they do not know how long Bowen had been traveling the wrong way. He had minor injuries and was treated at a hospital before being arrested.
Mayor Bloomberg offered his condolences from City Hall and said "we are not going to let drunk drivers inflict more death and suffering."
"Nothing is as important - no reason you have to get home is important enough to put somebody else's life in danger," Bloomberg said.
Some relatives said they wished that Mezies' death would stop others from drinking and driving.
"I hope that today one or two other people decide 'you know what, I've had one too many, I saw this story today on the news and I'm not going to get behind the wheel,'" Menzies cousin Joelle Lubin said.
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