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Pedestrian Killed by Teen BMW Driver on the Upper East Side

9:36 AM EDT on May 21, 2020

File photo: Dave Colon

A teen driver slammed his luxury sedan into a pedestrian on the Upper East Side on Wednesday night, killing him in a possible case of speeding that remains under investigation.

justin batten
Justin Batten

According to police, 29-year-old Justin Batten was crossing Fifth Avenue from east to west at 97th Street at around 6:25 p.m. when the 18-year-old driver of a BMW ran him down.

Batten, who lives nearby and was an associate at the law firm of Scott and Scott, was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he died. The driver remained on the scene and was not charged. Cops said his speed was under investigation.

Batten is the second pedestrian killed on the roads this week — and the 30th overall this year.

A video, posted by ScooterCasterNY, shows the driver or his passenger joking as he retrieved food from the car after the crash. A police officer also gives the teen some garbage from inside the car to throw out — a suggestion that perhaps the driver had been distracted before the crash. (It's at 1:13 in the video below.)

Batten's firm posted a tribute to the lawyer on its website.

Justin was a rising star among the firm’s antitrust and consumer protection practice group, and played a significant role in securing $386.5M in settlements on behalf of his clients in the GSE Bonds Antitrust case. Beyond his professional contributions, Justin will be remembered for his kindness and genuine caring for others.

Prior to joining Scott+Scott, Justin was an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Attorney General’s Antitrust Bureau. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2017. While in law school, Justin served as an articles editor for the Journal of Law & Liberty and was a Teaching Assistant to Professor Mark Geistfeld.

A native Georgian, Justin earned his B.S. cum laude at Georgia State University in Atlanta in 2012. Even after relocating to New York, he never lost his passion for his hometown Falcons and Braves. He spoke Spanish fluently and was an avid runner and cooking enthusiast.

We will miss Justin deeply, both personally and professionally, and send our heartfelt condolences to his family, his friends, and the many people who loved him.

Fifth Avenue can be dangerous, as drivers often speed on the roadway next to Central Park. Last year, there were 11 crashes on a four-block strip centered around the crash site, injuring four pedestrians, four cyclists and two motorists, killing one cyclist.

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