A family calls for justice after David Farries was killed in a deadly crash with an off-duty Philadelphia police officer. NBC10's Denise Nakano reports, they want charges filed against the cop now.
Nearly two weeks since he was killed in a car accident, the three daughters of David Farries say they want charges filed against the off-duty police officer who was involved in the crash.
On September 14, around 11:30 p.m., Philadelphia Police Sergeant Thomas Winkis, 54, was driving his 2007 Dodge Charger down State Road in Northeast Philadelphia. As Winkis was approaching a flashing yellow light, police say 55-year-old David Farries was driving a Ford Econoline van down Ashburner Street, approaching a flashing red light. The two vehicles then collided at the intersection.
Winkis, who was off-duty at the time of the accident, was taken to Aria Torresdale Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Farries was taken to Aria Torresdale in critical condition. On September 17, at 7 a.m., he was pronounced dead.
Farries’ family says they didn’t even know he was in the hospital until a worker, who was cleaning up at the crash scene, pieced together his cellphone and contacted them.
“If we never got a phone call from somebody, we probably wouldn’t have had the chance to say goodbye to our dad,” said Nicole Pirrone.
On Wednesday, Farries’ loved ones gathered at the scene of the fatal crash for a vigil. Farries’ daughters not only reminisced about their father but also expressed anger at the fact that no arrests have been made.
“It makes me so sick to my stomach that nothing’s been done about this,” Christine Farries said.
Sergeant Winkis was already dealing with tragedy prior to the accident. On September 7, his ex-wife, 26th District Officer Michelle Winkis, had died from a brain aneurysm while on the job. Police officers had gathered at a fund-raising event for Winkis’ children at the FOP Lodge #5 on September 12, only two days before the fatal accident.
Law enforcement sources tell NBC10 Sergeant Winkis spent time at Maggie’s Restaurant and Bar shortly before the accident. They did not say however, whether or not Winkis had been drinking. Sources also say Winkis underwent a blood alcohol test but have not revealed the results.
A private investigator hired by Farries’ family sent a letter to the manager of Maggie’s, demanding the business preserve surveillance footage that they say may show whether or not Winkis was drinking before the accident.
On Wednesday, the family told NBC10 they heard from the District Attorney’s Office, which is investigating the crash.
“Our condolences go out to Mr. Farries’ family and friends,” a D.A. Office spokesperson wrote in a released statement. “We ask for their patience as we work as expeditiously as possible to complete the necessary and thorough investigation of this case. This case, as with any case where a person has lost his or her life is examined carefully with our highest goal of developing the necessary evidence to charge. While we are mindful of working quickly, we will not do so at the expense of being accurate or thorough.”
Despite the statement, the sisters are convinced that justice is not being served.
“They’re trying to cover it up,” Christine Farries said. “I think it’s disgusting because the big picture here is somebody lost their life. This is our father. We’ll never be able to make memories with him ever again.”
“If it was someone else, if it was my dad, he’d be in jail,” Tammie Farries said.
“We want justice and we want every piece of justice we can get,” Nicole Pirrone said. “We’re not going to settle for less.”
Sergeant Winkis is currently on paid sick leave as he continues to recover from injuries he suffered in the crash. While officials with the District Attorney's Office are considering charges against him, they have not yet revealed when or if those charges will come.