2006-05-11 / Other News

Police Officer Killed In Belt Parkway Crash

By Charles Rogers

Wreckage of burned car is taken to 69th Precinct lot for further investigation after tragic accident.   Seth GottfriedWreckage of burned car is taken to 69th Precinct lot for further investigation after tragic accident. Seth Gottfried An off-duty rookie police officer was killed in a chain reaction pileup on the westbound lane of the Belt Parkway, near the Rockaway Parkway exit, early Saturday when his car exploded, police said.

Police Officer Dimitrios Theodorou, 22, who had been with the NYPD only 10 months and was assigned to the 61st Precinct in Sheepshead Bay, was killed immediately when his car became involved in the five-car crash, police said.

Sources at the 69th Precinct said the accident occurred at approximately 1:20 a.m. when Theodorou's 1995 Mitsubishi came over a rise in the road and crashed into the rear of a 2002 Ford Explorer SUV occupied by three women and one man, that, along with the other cars, were stopped because of road construction. The SUV was in the center lane next to a 2002 Acura, occupied by one man, and a 2005 Honda with two men aboard. A 1998 Explorer occupied by three women and one man, was behind the Honda.

Highway sign was put up after crash to warn drivers of vision restrictions because of dangerous rise in the road.    Charles RogersHighway sign was put up after crash to warn drivers of vision restrictions because of dangerous rise in the road. Charles Rogers The officer's Mitsubishi burst into flames when it crashed into the Explorer, which was knocked into a 90-degree angle, and hit a fifth car.

An "all hands" call was issued to the Fire Department and four engines and two ladder companies doused the burning cars.

The occupants of the other cars were taken to Brookdale Hospital and to Coney Island Hospital by Emergency Medical Service (EMS) ambulances where they were treated for minor abrasions and released.

Theodorou was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel.

Police said the last shift he worked at the 61st Precinct was a 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. tour. They said the rookie officer was not married and lived with his parents in Midwood.


Investigators and firefighters examine scene of five-car chain reaction collision in westbound lane of Belt Parkway near Rockaway Parkway Exit 13 early last Saturday morning. An off-duty rookie police officer was killed when his car exploded on impact.   Seth GottfriedInvestigators and firefighters examine scene of five-car chain reaction collision in westbound lane of Belt Parkway near Rockaway Parkway Exit 13 early last Saturday morning. An off-duty rookie police officer was killed when his car exploded on impact. Seth Gottfried

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