The NYPD has fired a probationary officer charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence after crashing into several pedestrians in Williamsburg early Saturday, killing an MIT student and injuring three others, officials said Wednesday.
Because he was on the force for less than two years, Nicholas Batka, 28, was terminated after being charged in the July 16 Williamsburg crash that took the life of Andrew Esquivel, 21. Because of his probationary status, Batka wasn’t entitled to a disciplinary hearing before he was fired, officials said.
Batka, who graduated from the police academy in July 2015, was off duty close to 3 a.m. and scheduled to report to work about four hours later when he allegedly drove his 2012 Dodge Durango on to the sidewalk at Bedford Avenue and North Eighth Street. The SUV hit Esquivel and three others. Esquivel died of his injuries a few hours later at Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said. The other victims were treated for severe injuries at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center.
According to a criminal complaint later filed in the case, one of the first officers on the scene said Batka appeared to have bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and the odor of alcohol on his breath. He refused requests to submit to a blood test, the complaint stated. He was also taken NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, police said.
Bystanders who reacted to the crash kept Batka from leaving the scene of the accident, the complaint noted. He is charged with second-degree manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and other offenses. Batka is free on $300,000 bail.
“This is a terrible tragedy for all concerned,” said defense attorney Michael Farkas, adding that he expected Batka’s firing but it won’t affect his defense. “We will work very hard to learn all of the facts surrounding this horrible incident.”