Accused NYC drunk driver in deadly July 4th crash has long criminal record – including

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The suspected drunken driver in the deadly July Fourth party horror on the Lower East Side has a long criminal record — including an unhinged attack on an addiction counseling trainee and an “operating while intoxicated” bust near a Wisconsin city where a madman plowed an SUV through a Christmas parade.

Violence and booze-fueled mayhem swirled around Daniel Christopher Hyden, 44, long before police said he rammed a pickup truck into a crowded park Thursday night, killing three and leaving eight injured, according to court records, law enforcement sources and his own writing.

Atiba Boyce, 41, told The Post that Hyden — his instructor at an East Harlem substance abuse counseling school — blew up and threw a chair at him during a class in February.

“I never really smelled alcohol on his breath when he was teaching, but something was off, I don’t know what it was,” Boyce said Friday, noting he didn’t find it far-fetched that Hyden was the suspect in the fatal crash.

“He was very aggressive.”

Cops charged Hyden with assault and harassment for the Feb. 29 incident, law-enforcement sources said.

The NYPD also had two other past run-ins with Hyden, both assault cases from January 2020 and October 2022 that have since been sealed, according to the sources.

Hyden, a substance abuse counselor and self-described “ex-professional addict,” publicly didn’t shy away from his struggles with addiction.

He worked several positions where he mentored other addicts across the city, from Montefiore to Lincoln Hospital to a non-profit called Services for UnderServed, in addition to penning a book titled “The Sober Addict” in which he alluded to numerous brushes with the law.

“I have taken many mugshots over the years and can honestly say I have a fascinating gallery of embarrassing pictures that show addiction’s debilitating effects,” he wrote.

Violence and booze-fueled mayhem swirled around Daniel Christopher Hyden, 44, long before police said he plowed a pickup truck into a crowded holiday party on the Lower East Side. NYPost

“Like many with my disease, my encounters with law enforcement and incarceration have been attributed to my use and abuse.”

One such legal dustup unfolded in Wisconsin during 2015, when a local police officer noticed Hyden driving without his lights on, according to court records obtained by The Post.

Hyden told the cop he had been driving from an Octoberfest celebration in Milwaukee, where he “just had one ‘stein’ of beer,” the records state.

The cop, however, noted Hyden spoke with slurred speech and reeked of beer, according to the records. His blood-alcohol content tested at 0.13%, over the legal limit of 0.08% in Wisconsin, the records state.

A glass stein with 3 inches of beer was found in Hyden’s car, records state.

Atiba Boyce, 41, told The Post that Hyden — his instructor at an East Harlem substance abuse counseling school — blew up and threw a chair at him during a class in February. Robert Miller

The arrest unfolded near Waukeska, where a crazed man named Darrell Brooks in 2021 plowed an SUV through a Christmas parade, leaving six people dead and more than 60 injured — a holiday horror with an eerie, though inexact, parallel to the Independence Day carnage linked to Hyden.

The Wisconsin court records state Hyden had two drunken driving convictions in New Jersey during 2006 and 2011.

Hyden eventually pleaded guilty to a third-offense drunken driving charge in Wisconsin, for which he received 130-day sentence, records state.

Susan Opper, district attorney for Waukesha County, said she was sorry to hear about the deadly Lower East Side incident.

“Here in Waukesha, we can certainly appreciate the pain and suffering of all impacted when a motor vehicle is used as a weapon against innocent persons trying to enjoy a holiday gathering,” she said in a statement.

“I never really smelled alcohol on his breath when he was teaching, but something was off, I don’t know what it was,” Boyce said Friday, noting he didn’t find it far-fetched that Hyden was the suspect in the fatal crash. Stephen Yang

“If the allegation is true that the driver was impaired at the time of the events, we are outraged and hope he will be held fully accountable.”

Hyden’s most recent run-in with the law, before the crash, was the February fight with Boyce at the East Harlem vocational school, police said.

Boyce said the dust-up unfolded after he complained to a supervisor at Recoveries R Us about Hyden’s condescending and antagonistic behavior.

He said Hyden threatened him, squared up for a fight and attacked him.

“We tussled for a little bit,” Boyce said.

A representative for Recoveries R Us, where the incident unfolded, told The Post they couldn’t comment on Hyden or the crash, citing an open investigation into the February assault case.

Hyden had punched Boyce in the eye and faced an assault charge, sources said.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office didn’t return a request for information Friday about the status of the case.

Boyce told The Post he wanted prosecutors to pursue anger management treatment or community service against Hyden.

“I wanted him to deal with his emotions because what I said shouldn’t have triggered him to respond the way he did,” he said.

“It just seems like there was something underneath that.”

Additional reporting by Megan Palin



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