In the minutes after the fatal crash, Philadelphia Police Sgt. Thomas Winkis told investigators that he was going from 35 to 40 m.p.h. when the other driver pulled out in front of him. Police at the scene said the sergeant seemed sober that night in 2013.
On Monday, Winkis, a 21-year police veteran, pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving after a prosecutor said the evidence proved he was legally intoxicated and his vehicle hit David Farries' car at 101 m.p.h.
Surveillance video from the bar showed Winkis had nine beers and three shots of liquor before he got into his car, the prosecutor said.
Winkis' no-contest plea and sentence of two to seven years in prison were part of a plea deal negotiated by defense lawyer Fortunato N. Perri Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb.
Winkis, 46, hung his head and wiped away tears as Farries' daughter talked about his death and the void it left for her and her children.
"I'm truly sorry for the loss of Mr. Farries to his family," Winkis, the divorced father of three teenage children, told Common Pleas Court Judge Rosemarie DeFino-Nastasi. "I truly hope my actions today bring some closure to them."
DeFino-Nastasi ordered Winkis to reimburse the $15,103 cost of Farries' funeral. When he is released, Winkis will be on six months' probation and have to attend a class on driving and alcohol.
DeFino-Nastasi let Winkis report to prison July 15 but warned, "No driving. You can't drive."
Winkis, who worked in special investigations and homeland security, retired immediately after the accident, Perri said.
According to Lipscomb, Winkis and a friend, Gina D'Emilio, spent from about 7 to 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2013, drinking at Maggie's Waterfront Cafe at 9242 N. Delaware Ave.
The couple left the cafe, got into Winkis' 2002 Dodge Challenger, and were headed north on State Road when he crashed the vehicle into Farries' Ford Econoline conversion van as Farries turned onto State from Ashburner Street in Holmesburg.
Farries, 56, was ejected from the van. He died three days later at Aria-Health Torresdale Campus without regaining consciousness.
Lipscomb said police at the scene said Winkis did not seem intoxicated, and told them Farries pulled out in front of him as he was driving 35 to 40 m.p.h.
Winkis, who broke a wrist in the accident, was also taken to Aria-Health Torresdale. Winkis' blood tests showed that two hours after the crash he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.10, Lipscomb said. In Pennsylvania, a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 is the threshold for driving under the influence.
Farries' blood test showed evidence he smoked marijuana but not enough to classify his driving as impaired, Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb said the crash data recorder in Winkis' car and analysis of surveillance video from a boat dealer six-tenths of a mile from the crash, showed Winkis driving between 93 and 103 m.p.h. in the seconds before his car hit the van.
The posted speed on that stretch of State is 35 m.p.h., Lipscomb said, and there was a blinking yellow light at the Ashburner intersection.
Christine Farries wept as she told the judge: "My father didn't want to die, but he didn't have a choice. Thomas made that choice for him. . . . He was supposed to protect us; he was a police officer."