Off-duty cop killed in wrong-way DUI crash on LI

Police Officer Andre Menzies (left) and alleged drunk driver Michael Bowen (right) (andre menzies, michael bowen)

November 16, 2010 1:54:28 PM PST
A drunk driver going the wrong way on Northern State Parkway struck and killed an off-duty NYPD officer early Monday.

State Police say a Chevrolet van traveling in the wrong direction struck 35-year-old Officer Andre Menzies in the east bound lanes of the parkway a little past midnight.

The van's driver, 50-year-old Michael Bowen of Brooklyn, was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

According to prosecutors, Bowen smelled of alcohol on his breath and was unsteady on his feet. They said he admitted to police that he had two glasses of brandy before setting off from Brooklyn to Mount Vernon.

Investigators said he somehow wound up in Dix Hills on the Northern State Parkway, heading east in the eastbound lanes, but when he realized he was lost, he then made a u-turn in the eastbound lanes and started driving the wrong way.

The prosecutor's office said Bowen told troopers, "I hit another car. Tell him I will pay to have his car fixed."

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.

Menzies, was a 9 year veteran of the New York City Police Department, and was on his way home from his duty assignment at the Queens Housing Bureau.

"His young children are left without a father as a result of a senseless accident in which a drunken driver drove the wrong way on a highway at night," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a statement.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the accident a reminder about the dangers of drinking and driving.

"The bottom line is we are not going to let drunk drivers inflict more death and suffering. And as we get into the holiday season, I know everybody wants to enjoy themselves, but you are not going to enjoy what happens to you if you take somebody's life or cause injury to somebody," Bloomberg said. "You just have to think a little bit before you start driving. If you are going to drive, don't drink. If you are going to drink, don't drive. There are plenty of ways that you can get a ride home. No reason you have to get home is important enough to put somebody else's life in danger."

Any witnesses to this collision please contact the New York State Police at (631) 756- 3300, all calls are confidential.

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