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Off-duty police officer faces manslaughter charge after SUV kills 1, injures 3, authorities say

A sport utility vehicle sits wedged into a

A sport utility vehicle sits wedged into a stoop near Bedford Avenue and North Eighth Street in Williamsburg after it plowed into pedestrians, fatally injuring one, early Saturday, July 16, 2016, officials said. Credit: Vic Nicastro for New York Daily News

An off-duty NYPD officer was charged with manslaughter and driving while intoxicated after he drove a sport utility vehicle into four pedestrians on a Brooklyn sidewalk early Saturday morning, killing one, police said.

Nicholas Batka, 28, of Brooklyn, also was charged with vehicular manslaughter, three counts of assault and driving while ability impaired after the 3:02 a.m. crash in Williamsburg.

Batka, a transit officer who joined the NYPD in 2015, was driving a 2012 Dodge Durango west on North Eighth Street when he turned right onto Bedford Avenue and drove onto the sidewalk, striking four people and “causing head and body trauma,” police said.

Three of the victims — a 21-year-old man, and two women, 22 and 23 — were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where the man was pronounced dead, the NYPD said. The two women were in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Batka and a fourth victim, a 24-year-old man, were taken to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, police said. Both men were listed in stable condition.

The officer refused a breathalyzer, the police said, adding that Batka has been suspended. A call left at his home was not returned.

The impact of the SUV hitting the building and the victims’ agonizing screams woke Agata Winter, a grant writer who lives nearby.

“I thought maybe there was some kind of explosion because the impact was just so loud,” she said. “I heard people screaming in such agony, I just couldn’t take it.”

Other car crashes have occurred around the same area, she said, but this one was by far the worst.

“I saw this silver SUV just stuck in a window of one of the buildings, and I was very confused,” she said. “I wasn’t sure, how could this guy have ended up crashing into the building?”

The crash still is being investigated, police said, adding they are withholding the identity of the person who was killed while his family is being notified.

“I went there during the day, and I saw a boy’s shoe that was lying there, and there was still blood, and I saw a woman’s shoe, and it is still lying there,” Winter said.

“It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy.”


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