A 21-year-old MIT student was killed in Brooklyn on Sunday morning, having been fatally struck by an off-duty cop’s SUV.
The NY Daily News reports that the college student, Andrew Esquivel, was walking home early Sunday morning in Brookyln’s Williamsburg neighborhood when he and three of his friends were hit by NYPD Officer Nicholas Batka’s SUV as it careened off the road and onto the sidewalk.
Witnesses to the tragic scene reportedly saw Batka’s speeding SUV swerving down the road seconds before the fatal collision. The officer’s vehicle severed one of the students’ legs and impaled another victim on a fence, finally crashing into a utility pole on the driver’s side.
“The EMTs had to get a saw to remove the man impaled on the railing,” Jaminah Kang told the NY Daily News. “Another man (looked) like he took a chain saw to the knee.”
The thoroughly drunk Batka tried to flash his NYPD badge to the outraged bystanders and scooted over to the passenger side of his car in an apparent attempt to leave the scene, but one of the witnesses kept the passenger door shut, trapping the cop inside. Another witness recorded the crash’s gruesome aftermath on a cell phone video.
NYPD officers arrested Batka at the scene, and he was suspended from the force. The off-duty cop was later charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, three counts of assault, driving while intoxicated, driving with impaired ability and driving on a sidewalk.
At his arraignment in in Brooklyn Criminal Court later that morning, a judge ordered Batka’s driver’s licenses suspended. He was released after posting $300,000 bond.
Esquivel, the MIT student, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he died at 6:40 am Sunday.
Esquivel, a native of Healdsburg, California, was well-liked in his hometown and was involved in community service, his former wrestling coach, Scott Weidemier, told the NY Daily News.
“He went out of his way to help people,” Weidemier said. “He was an all-American boy.”
According to Weidemeir, Esquivel was set to start an internship with the mobile marketing firm, Appboy, before he was slain on Sunday.
An old colleague at the jail where Batka previously worked as a corrections officer said that the NYPD cop has a history of heavy-drinking.
“He’s a nice guy but loves to drink,” the former co-worker told the NY Daily News.
The Daily News also reported that Batka’s Facebook page is littered with photos in which the cop is boasting about his drinking abilities.