Off-duty officer involved in wrong-way crash in Suffern was DUI, police say

The off-duty New York City police officer who drove the wrong way on the New York State Thruway in Suffern last month, killing himself and another driver, was driving under the influence of alcohol, police say.

Around 7 a.m. on Aug. 12th, the pick-up truck driven southbound by Richard Christopher apparently entered the highway going in the wrong direction and slammed into another vehicle just south of exit 15. Christopher, of Suffern, worked at the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx.

Christopher drove his 2002 Dodge Dakota head-on into a 2003 Honda CRV driven by James B. Devito, 59, of Airmont, N.Y. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

After a month-long investigation, the New York State Police say the autopsy report completed by the Rockland County Medical Examiner's office concluded that Christopher's toxicology report revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.21%.

A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is the legal limit of intoxication in the state of New York. The toxicology report revealed no drugs in Christopher's blood at the time of the crash.

The official police investigation revealed two independent witnesses observed Christopher driving north in the northbound lanes prior to the accident. The witnesses said they then observed Christopher pull his vehicle over to the right side of the roadway, execute an illegal u-turn in the northbound lanes, then drive his pick-up in a southerly direction in the northbound lanes.

A toxicology report revealed there were no drugs or alcohol in Devito's blood at the time of the crash.


Related Topics:
dui crashwrong waypolice officer killedSuffern
(Copyright ©2017 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)