A judge sentenced a Greenpoint man and former cop to as many as 15 years behind bars for killing one person and injuring three others while driving drunk in Williamsburg three years ago, Brooklyn’s top prosecutor announced.
The sentence is a small step toward delivering justice to the victims of the avoidable tragedy and their families, according to District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
“This tragic case is another reminder of how dangerous drunk driving is, and the terrible toll it can exact. This defendant accepted responsibility for his reckless and criminal actions, which took a promising young man’s life and irreparably harmed three additional victims,” Gonzalez said following the Monday sentencing. “I hope this will bring a small measure of solace to the victims and their families.”
Thirty-year-old Nicholas Batka, who worked as a probationary officer with the Manhattan Transit Task Force when the incident occurred, spent the night drinking with friends at Berry Street bar The Whiskey before hopping behind the wheel of his Dodge Durango around 3 am on July 16, 2016, according to prosecutors.
Batka then jumped the curb near Bedford Avenue and N. Eighth Street, where he plowed into four pedestrians on the sidewalk, killing Andrew Esquivel, then 21, and injuring Sophia Tabchhouri and Divya Menezes, both then 20, as well as James Balchunas, then 24, Gonzalez said.
The defendant also rammed his car through a wrought-iron fence in front of a Bedford Avenue building, according to authorities.
The former cop smashed into the victims while driving with a blood-alcohol level of .23 — nearly three times the legal limit — and Police Department brass sacked him days after the fatal collision.
Last November, Batka pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular manslaughter and aggravated vehicular assault, according to Gonzalez.
The defendant could spend as few as five years in prison, however, if the parole board rules he is eligible for release after that time, but he must serve 350 hours of community service educating high-schoolers about the consequences of drunk driving following his stint behind bars, prosecutors said.