A week after the death of his ex-wife, a Philadelphia Police officer was involved in a car accident that left another man dead. Now officials are investigating the cause of the fatal crash.
On Saturday, 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 Tuesday, at 7 a.m., he was pronounced dead.
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.
Internal Affairs is currently investigating the crash to make sure proper protocol was followed. 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.
NBC10 tried to speak with Deputy Commissioners about the investigation, but they refused to comment.
Owners of businesses located along State Road say police took surveillance video showing Sergeant Winkis driving that night prior to the accident. Meanwhile, those who knew Farries say they are hoping for a fair investigation.
“I’m kind of 50/50 because I know police protect their own,” said Debbie Schultz, Farries’ neighbor. “In a case like this, I think it will be handled appropriately.”