Former Philly police sergeant is ordered to stand trial for DUI death

Posted: February 07, 2014

A PHILADELPHIA police sergeant arrested for allegedly causing a deadly drunken-driving crash last September yesterday was ordered to stand trial on all charges.

Thomas Winkis, 45, showed no expression at his preliminary hearing, during which testimony was given that he was driving his Dodge Challenger at more than 101 mph when he slammed into the Ford Econoline van being driven by David Farries, 55.

He was traveling at almost three times the speed limit, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb said.

The collision at State Road and Ashburner Street in Holmesburg shortly before midnight left Winkis with a broken wrist, while Farries was ejected from his van and mortally injured.

Farries, a father of four from Fishtown, died three days later of blunt-force injuries.

Just before the crash, Winkis and a friend, Gina D'Emilio, 26, had been drinking at Maggie's Waterfront Cafe in Torresdale.

D'Emilio testified that while Winkis was being taken to the hospital by ambulance, he apologized and prayed.

The rate of speed at which Winkis was traveling was obtained from an onboard crash-data-recording device, similar to an airplane's black box, Officer William Lackman of the Accident Investigation Division testified.

He said that five seconds before the crash, Winkis was going 73 mph, and he reached 101.5 mph at impact.

Municipal Judge Karen Y. Simmons held Winkis for trial on five counts: homicide by vehicle while DUI; homicide by vehicle; DUI; involuntary manslaughter; and recklessly endangering another person.

Defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri Jr. sought to get the lead charge of homicide by vehicle while DUI dismissed, arguing that the accident resulted because Farries ran a blinking red light.

Winkis, a cop for 21 years, was fired after the crash. He is free on bail.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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