The scene that unfolded in Brooklyn early on Saturday was a tragically familiar one in New York City: a driver losing control of his sport utility vehicle, mounting a sidewalk and plowing into a group of pedestrians, leaving one man dead and three other people seriously injured.
The driver of the vehicle was an off-duty New York police officer who was intoxicated, the police said. The officer, Nicholas Batka, 28, was suspended without pay and arrested on eight charges, including manslaughter, assault and driving while intoxicated.
Officer Batka, the police said, was driving west on North 8th Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood around 3 a.m. when he turned on Bedford Avenue, jumped a sidewalk and struck a group of friends in their 20s who were walking past a row of townhouses near North 8th Street. He was taken into custody at the scene.
A 21-year old man who was hit by the S.U.V., a silver 2012 Dodge Durango, was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital Center, the police said. Two women, ages 22 and 23, remained at the hospital in stable condition. One of them had been upgraded from critical, the police said.
Officer Batka and a 24-year-old man who was hit were taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital and were in stable condition. None of the victims were identified on Saturday.
Officer Batka, who joined the New York Police Department in January 2015, was assigned to the Transit Borough Manhattan Task Force and had been scheduled to start a shift on Saturday at 7 a.m., the police said. He was suspended without pay and had to surrender his badge and his gun, the police said.
Jaminah King, 35, and a friend were walking on the other side of Bedford Avenue when she saw the vehicle, a silver Dodge Durango, speeding and swerving. Then, she said, she heard a “loud, horrible sound” of the crash and saw the driver trying to reverse.
Ms. King said she ran across the street, screaming for help, and called 911. She said she saw several people badly injured.
The driver moved to the passenger seat and tried to exit the S.U.V. , but another bystander held the door shut to keep the driver inside, Ms. King said.
“People just ran,” Ms. King said. “I was screaming at the top of my lungs for people to just help. So many people just ran to help people they didn’t even know.”