Sgt. In Fatal Off-Duty Crash To Be Charged, Fired From Force - KMSP-TV

Sgt. In Fatal Off-Duty Crash To Be Charged, Fired From Force

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PHILADELPHIA -

Only FOX 29 was there Friday afternoon as Sgt. Tom Winkis, a 20-year veteran of the police force, walked into the Internal Affairs Bureau with his former boss.

He was there to face a 30-day suspension and dismissal.

The move to fire Winkis, an aide to one of the department's top deputies, came almost two weeks after he was involved in an off-duty car crash that killed 55-year-old David Farries.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey told FOX 29 News in an exclusive interview Friday afternoon, "The circumstances surrounding the accident were such that two of our rules were violated that could lead to dismissal."

Later on Friday, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office approved criminal charges against Winkis, who is expected to surrender to face those charges Tuesday.

Fortunato Perri Jr., Winkis' attorney,  said of the case, "When we have our evaluation of the evidence, we're confident Sgt. Winkis will be exonerated."

The Farries family and friends held a candlelight vigil earlier this week demanding justice and questioning the delay in filing charges against Winkis.

"It's horrible that this guy isn't in jail yet. He's at home with his family sitting there on his couch having a normal life," said Christine Farries, the victim's daughter.

"Now my dad, our dad, is gone forever," another daughter said.

Sources say the black box in Winkis' mangled 2007 Dodge Challenger showed he was allegedly driving at  approximately 100 mph at the time of the crash at State Road and Ashburner.

Sources say tests also showed his blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit. Investigators have also interviewed a passenger in his car about the fatal crash.

"It's 35 ph driving up here. He was going well over 35 mph," said Nicole Pirrone, the victim's daughter.

The crash happened two days after Winkis' ex-wife, a police officer and mother of his three children, was buried. She died days before on the job from a brain aneurysm.

"This is a tragic set of circumstances and he is horribly shaken by what's occurred here," Perri added.

The defense attorney also said, "We have not formally been advised as to how fast his vehicle may have been traveling."

It was late Friday afternoon when word came that the D.A. had approved charges against Winkis. Those counts are homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment, FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser reported.

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