3 dead, 8 injured as addiction counsellor accused of mowing down July 4 crowd while drunk

A suspected drunk driver, who police say crashed his truck into a crowd of people during a Fourth of July celebration in New York City on Thursday – killing three and injuring eight, is a wellness advocate and a substance abuse counselor, sources say.

Daniel Hyden, 44, of New Jersey, was driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck at a high rate of speed when he ran a stop sign at an intersection, mounted a sidewalk and smashed into a group who were enjoying the evening at Corlears Hook Park in the Lower East Side at around 9 p.m., police said. 

Three people have now been confirmed dead – Lucille Pinkney, 59, and her son, Hernan Pinkney, 38, as well as an unidentified female – after the holiday celebrations turned deadly in horrific circumstances.


Daniel Christopher Hyden mugshot

The booking photo of Daniel Christopher Hyden, who police say drove his truck into a park on July 4, 2024, killing three people. (NYPD)

Eight other victims were injured, including an 11-year-old child.

“Responding officers who did arrive on the scene did smell some alcohol,” said NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said at a late-night police briefing. “There were people who were there at the scene who grabbed the driver, removed the driver and made sure the driver didn’t leave.”

So far, Hyden has been charged with three counts of driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs, and one count of operating a vehicle without a license. He is expected to be hit with several more charges.


Pickup truck in NYC crashes into July Fourth party in Manhattan

The truck Daniel Hyden is alleged to have been driving is pictured on July 4, 2024 after crashing into a Manhattan park and killing three people in New York City. (Peter Gerber)

Hyden reportedly wrote a book titled “The Sober Addict,” which claims to be a guide on “how to be functional with the dysfunctional disease of addiction.”

“This guide will help you learn how to function with this dysfunctional and chronic illness,” the book’s bio on Amazon reads. 

Hyden’s Amazon author bio lists him as a substance abuse counselor, instructor and public speaker. The New York Post was first to report that the suspect in the case had penned the book.

Responding firefighters found the four victims – including the three deceased – underneath the truck when they arrived on the scene.

“They used their airbags, floor jacks and cribbing in order to lift the vehicle off of the victims,” FDNY Assistant Chief Michael Meyers said at the press conference.

Video from the scene shows the front of the truck smashed, and it is surrounded by several park benches and debris like empty cups strewn across the floor. 

Lucille Pinkney and her son Hernan Pinkney who died when a truck hit them

Lucille Pinkney, left, and her son Hernan Pinkney, who died when the truck hit them. (Obtained by Robert Moses via Fox 5)

Press Briefing Eric Adams truck crash

FDNY Assistant Chief Michael Meyers speaking at the press conference. (Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office)


New York City Mayor Eric Adams also briefed the media and said that the victims were simply out celebrating when the deadly incident unfolded. 

“We had a tragic incident which took place here,” Adams said. “A driver drove into a crowd of people who were actually just celebrating like so many New Yorkers and Americans are doing right now.”

He said the incident was not terror-related.

Fox News’ Alexis McAdams and CB Cotton contributed to this report. 

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