Feb. 7, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A former NYPD police officer will serve up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and assault after killing a pedestrian and injuring three others while driving under the influence in Williamsburg in an incident dating back to 2016, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced earlier this week.
Nicholas Batka, a 30-year-old Greenpoint resident, was handed an indeterminate sentence on Monday of five to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated vehicular manslaughter and three counts of aggravated vehicular assault in November of last year, the DA’s office said.
Batka will also be required to complete 350 hours of community service educating high school students on the consequences of driving while intoxicated after the end of his sentence.
On July 16, 2016, Batka got into his Dodge Durango after he had been drinking with friends at The Whiskey in Williamsburg. Around 3:00 a.m., just blocks from the bar, Batka jumped the curb in his SUV near Bedford Avenue and N 8th Street, hitting the four pedestrians before crashing through a wrought iron fence at 161 Bedford Ave., according to the DA.
Andrew Esquivel, a 21-year-old who was hit by the SUV, died just hours after the crash while Sophia Tabchhouri and Divya Menezes, both 20 at the time, and James Balchunas, 24, suffered serious injuries.
Batka’s blood-alcohol level, taken two hours after the crash, was .23, nearly three times the legal limit.
“This tragic case is another reminder of how dangerous drunk driving is and the terrible toll it can exact,” Gonzalez said. “This defendant accepted responsibility for his reckless and criminal actions that early morning, which took a promising young man’s life and irreparably harmed three additional victims. I hope this sentence will bring a small measure of solace to the victims and their families.”
Batka was fired from his job as a probationary officer assigned to the Manhattan Transit Task Force a few days after the incident.