published Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Arrest in NYC crash that killed expectant parents

In this photo provided by VosIzNeias.com, authorities work at the scene of a car accident that took the lives of an expectant couple in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood  March 3 in New York. The young couple who had taken a car service to a hospital for the birth of their first child were killed en route by the driver of a BMW who fled the scene, but the couple's baby boy survived, authorities said.
In this photo provided by VosIzNeias.com, authorities work at the scene of a car accident that took the lives of an expectant couple in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood March 3 in New York. The young couple who had taken a car service to a hospital for the birth of their first child were killed en route by the driver of a BMW who fled the scene, but the couple's baby boy survived, authorities said.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW YORK — A man wanted for a hit-and-run crash in New York City that killed a pregnant woman and her husband was arrested Wednesday, authorities said.

New York City police said they arrested the suspected driver Julio Acevedo at a mini-mart in Bethlehem, Pa.

Acevedo allegedly was speeding down a Brooklyn street in a BMW at 60 mph early Sunday when he collided with a car carrying Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21. They died Sunday, and their premature son died Monday.

It was not immediatedly known if the 44-year-old Acevedo had a lawyer.

Acevedo was arrested last month on a charge of driving while under the influence, and that case is pending. He served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter.

No one answered the door at Acevedo’s last known address, in a public housing complex in Brooklyn. Neighbors said his mother lived in the same building, but she did not answer her door.

The Glauber’s close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn was in mourning, only worsened following the baby’s death. He weighed only about 4 pounds when he was delivered, neighbors and friends said. He died of extreme prematurity, according to the city medical examiner’s office.

The infant was buried Monday near the fresh graves of his parents, according to Isaac Abraham, a spokesman for the Hasidic Jewish community. About a thousand community members turned out for the young couple’s funeral a day earlier.

“The mood in the neighborhood is very heavy,” said Oscar Sabel, a retired printer who lives near the scene of the accident. “We all hoped the baby would survive.”

Brooklyn is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. The couple wed last year in a marriage arranged through a matchmaker and were living in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

They were members of the Satmar Hasidic sect, whose men dress in dark coats and hats, wear long beards like their Eastern European ancestors and have limited dealings with the outside world. Raizy Glauber grew up in a prominent rabbinical family. Her husband was studying at a rabbinical college; his family founded a line of clothing for Orthodox Jews.

Sabel, dressed in the traditional long black coat of the Satmar, said it was a terrible tragedy.

“But it’s what God wants,” he said. “Maybe the baby’s death, and his parents’, is not for nothing; God doesn’t have to give us answers.”

Shortly after midnight Sunday, Raizy Glauber, who was seven months pregnant, wasn’t feeling well, so the couple decided to go to the hospital, said Sara Glauber, Nachman Glauber’s cousin. They called a livery cab, a hired car that is arranged via telephone, not hailed off the street like a yellow cab.

The livery cab had a stop sign, but it’s not clear if the driver stopped. Police said the crash with the BMW reduced the cab to a crumpled heap, and Raizy Glauber was thrown from the wreck. The engine ended up in the back seat, Abraham said.

Police said the driver of the BMW ran away.

“We in the community are demanding that the prosecutor charge the driver of BMW that caused the death of this couple and infant ... with triple homicide,” Abraham said in a statement. “This coward left the scene of the accident not even bothering to check on the people of the other car.”

How Acevedo came to possess the BMW is also under investigation. The registered owner, Takia Walker, was arrested on insurance fraud charges Sunday in a scam involving the car, police said. She was not involved in the crash. A telephone number registered to Walker rang unanswered.

A person familiar with the investigation said Walker bought the car legally, or allowed her identification to be used in the purchase, then gave the vehicle to a middleman who either lent or rented it out to the driver. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The driver of the livery cab, Pedro Nunez Delacruz, was knocked unconscious but was not seriously hurt. His vehicle should not have been sent to pick up the passengers because an application to use the Toyota as a livery cab had not yet been approved, the city Taxi and Limousine Commission said.

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