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Driver under arrest for DWI after crash into holiday crowd that killed 3, injured 8 in NYC park

Driver under arrest for DWI after crash into holiday crowd that killed 3, injured 8 in NYC park

Driver under arrest for DWI after crash into holiday crowd that killed 3, injured 8 in NYC park

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Towers of the East River Co-ops (1956) in the Lower East Side^ NYC. In the foreground is the East River and East River Park under renovation.New York^ NY - August 13^ 2022
Towers of the East River Co-ops (1956) in the Lower East Side^ NYC. In the foreground is the East River and East River Park under renovation.New York^ NY - August 13^ 2022

The man suspected of killing three people and injuring eight others after crashing into a crowd during an Independence Day celebration at a New York City park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side has been arrested and is accused of driving under the influence.

Per NBC News, the driver was identified by police as Daniel C. Hyden, 44, of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey. NYPD say that he was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, eight counts of assault, one count of driving without a license in the second degree and one count of driving while intoxicated. Hyden is alleged to have driven his gray Ford F-150 pickup “at a high rate of speed when he failed to navigate the road and struck 11 pedestrians” — running through an intersection, up onto the sidewalk and striking the crowd at Corlears Hook Park in Manhattan around 8:55 p.m. According to a criminal complaint from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Hyden was additionally charged with three counts of manslaughter in the second degree, three counts of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, and one count of aggravated vehicular assault. Officials said Hyden’s license had been suspended at the time of the incident for “failure to answer a summons four times on three dates.”

Hyden pleaded not guilty to all the charges during an arraignment hearing Saturday; his attorney, Tim Pruitt with The Legal Aid Society, told CNN: “This is a very tragic case, and we extend our sincere condolences to all those impacted. But Mr. Hyden is entitled to the presumption of innocence and a zealous defense, and at this preliminary stage in the case, we caution the public from making any rush to judgment.” Hyden’s next court date is scheduled for July 10.

Hyden, who told police he had a few alcoholic drinks, was found at the scene of the crash “next to the driver’s side door, bloodied with no shirt or shoes.”  Police said Hyden was stumbling on his feet, had bloodshot eyes and a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath and clothing.” Pedestrians who witnessed the incident told an officer that Hyden was the only person sitting in the driver’s seat when the truck crashed and there were no other passengers in the vehicle.  When officers arrived on the scene, one pedestrian was still pinned underneath Hyden’s pickup and emergency responders had to extricate the person from the vehicle. Hyden was arrested at the scene and taken to a hospital with head and facial lacerations, with police noting he was not wearing a seatbelt; he refused all testing at the scene of the incident.

The NYPD has identified Ana Morel, 43, as the third person killed, after earlier identifying Lucille Pinkney, 59, and Hernan Pinkney, 38, as two of the other three victims killed.  Seven of the victims were between 11 and 35, and were taken to hospitals in stable condition, police said. A 30-year-old woman was taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to the NYPD. Six individuals were treated at various hospitals for pain, abrasions, as well as lacerations to their necks, backs, and faces.

Editorial credit: John Penney / Shutterstock.com

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