- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - A New York City police officer was heavily drunk - at around 7 a.m. - when he drove the wrong way on the state Thruway last month and crashed head-on into another car, killing himself and the other driver, state police said Wednesday.

In a brief report, the state police said Officer Richard Christopher’s blood-alcohol content was 0.21 percent, more than twice the legal level of 0.08 percent.

Christopher, 32, was off-duty on Aug. 12 when his blue pickup truck, going south in the northbound lanes in Rockland County, crashed into a sport utility vehicle driven by James DeVito, 59, of Airmont at about 6:50 a.m.

Both men were killed by blunt force despite seat belts and air bags. The speed limit at the crash site was 65 mph.

“You can’t survive that kind of damage,” a paramedic said at the time.



The state police report also said two witnesses said independently that they saw Christopher driving in the correct direction, then pull over to the right and make an illegal U-turn within the northbound lanes to go the wrong way.

The toxicology tests, from blood taken during autopsies, found no drugs in Christopher’s system and no alcohol or drugs in DeVito’s system.

DeVito’s wife had died in February. A chef at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, he had three stepchildren.

Christopher, who lived in Suffern, was unmarried. A call to his sister’s home Wednesday was unanswered.

A call seeking comment from the New York Police Department was not immediately returned. In April, after an NYPD officer was accused of shooting a motorist in Pelham and admitted he’d been drinking, Commissioner William Bratton said he was concerned by recent reports of officers drinking inappropriately.

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