Dr. Henry H. Esterly, 64, a professor emeritus of the City University of New York and an official of the Marine Technology Society here, died Sunday at Commonwealth Doctors Hospital of head injuries he received in an automobile accident. He had lived in Reston since 1978.

A spokesman for the Fairfax City police said Dr. Esterly was driving on to U.S. Rte. 50 from the parking lot of the Old Budapest Restaurant early Sunday morning when he collided with a Fairfax City police cruiser driven by Officer Hobert C. Peacher. Dr. Esterly had been attending a prewedding party for his stepdaughter, Nora Kathryn Garver of Reston.

Police said Peacher was answering a burglar alarm, which turned out to be false, and was using both siren and emergency lights when the accident occurred. The police officer and the two passengers in Dr. Esterly's vehicle, his wife, Joanna Esterly, and his brother-in-law, the Rev. Lewis Durham, of California, also were taken to Commonwealth Doctors Hosptial.

Police said Peacher and Durham were treated and released. Mrs. Esterly was admitted for treatment. A hospital spokesman said she was released Friday.

Fairfax City police said the incident was still under investigation.

Dr. Esterly was a professor at the New York City Community College, CUNY, in Brooklyn for 30 years before retiring and being named professor emeritus in 1978.

During his years at CUNY, he taught sociology, government, international relations and American and Far Eastern history. He also served on the College Faculty Council and helped organize the faculty union.

He was an authority on the law of the sea and, an observer representing the International Studies Association, had attended conferences on that subject in Caracas, Geneva, Vienna and New York City.

For the past year, Dr. Esterly had been chairman of the Marine Technology Society's committee on the economic potential of the ocean. He had chaired society symposia and been an editor of the organization's journals.

He also had been affiliated with the Law of the Sea Institute at the University of Rhode Island for 10 years and had taken part in meetings of the Center for Oceans Law & Policy at the University of Virginia. He was a member of the United Nations Association and the Asia Society.

Dr. Esterly was a native of Reading, Pa. His father, the late Charles Esterly, was a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania during the 1920s. Dr. Esterly was a 1939 graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., and earned a master's degree in history and international relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. He received his doctorate in international relations at Columbia University.

He was a retired lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserves and had served in the South Pacific during World War II. He was an instructor at Colgate Univeristy in Hamilton, N.Y., before joining the faculty at CUNY.

His marriage to the former Martha M. Harrington ended in divorce.

In addition to his wife, of Reston, and his stepdaughter, Dr. Esterly's survivors include two sons by his first marriage, James, of Clifton Park, N.Y., and Charles, of Westbrook, Maine; a stepson, James G. Garver of San Francisco; a brother, Richard, of Franklin, Mass., and three grandchildren.