NEW YORK – Police have identified a suspect being sought in the hit-and-run deaths of a pregnant woman and her husband whose baby died Monday, a day after the Brooklyn car crash.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said police are looking for 44-year-old Julio Acevedo, who had a DWI arrest in February. Acevedo was going at least 60 mph when the car slammed into the cab carrying the couple to a hospital, police said.
The newborn boy, delivered after the crash, died early Monday, according to Isaac Abraham, who serves as a spokesman for the family’s Orthodox Jewish community.
“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.”
Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21, were looking forward to welcoming their first child into their tight-knit community of Orthodox Jews. They were killed in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The cause of the crash remained under investigation Monday. The driver of the BMW was expected at least to face charges of leaving the scene of an accident.
Police initially believed the BMW driver had a passenger but now say he was alone in the vehicle. A witness in another car said the BMW passed by at a high rate of speed before the accident. The speed limit is 30 mph in the area.
The livery car was at a stop sign, but it was unclear if it had stopped, police said.
The engine of the livery car ended up in the backseat, where Raizy Glauber, who was seven months pregnant, was sitting before she was ejected, Abraham said. Her body landed under a parked tractor-trailer, said witnesses who raced to the scene after the crash. Nachman Glauber was pinned in the car, and emergency workers had to cut off the roof to get him out, witnesses said.
The Glaubers both were pronounced dead at hospitals, and the medical examiner said they died of blunt-force trauma. It’s not clear if they were wearing seatbelts.
Doctors had delivered the baby by cesarean section. Neighbors and friends said the boy weighed only about 4 pounds.
Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office, said the baby’s death was caused by extreme prematurity due to maternal blunt force injuries.
On Monday afternoon, three men wearing Hasidic garb in separate SUVs entered the upstate cemetery where the Glaubers were buried a day earlier; the gate was locked after them.
One man had a shovel. They walked beyond the parents’ graves, out of journalists’ view, then got back into the vehicles and left without stopping or speaking.
Henry Weinstock, who lives in the village of Kiryas Joel, came by at noon to visit the fresh graves of the parents.
He said he was a cousin of the baby’s father.
“God wants it this way,” Weinstock said. “We cannot say anything else.”
He said of the father: “He was a very good student ... they were a very happy couple.”
The Glaubers’ livery cab driver, Pedro Nunez Delacruz, 32, was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and was later released. Delacruz had a current driver’s license.
But an application to use the Toyota as a livery cab was pending and the vehicle should not have been sent to pick up the passengers, according to the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. Delacruz’s union said he had done nothing wrong. In New York City, yellow taxis are hailed on the street, but residents may call car services, and are picked up by drivers in everyday vehicles.
Meanwhile, police said the registered owner of the BMW, Takia Walker, 29 who was not in the car, was charged with insurance fraud on Sunday in a scam involving the car.
A person familiar with the investigation said Walker bought the car legally – or willingly used her identification for the purchase – then gave the car to another man. The middleman wasn’t driving at the time of the accident, and had either lent or rented the car out to the driver, the person said. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the accident and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Acevedo served about eight years in prison on a manslaughter charge in a shooting death, and violated parole once after, according to a state department of correction spokeswoman.
No one answered the door Monday at either Walker’s or Acevedo’s homes.
On Saturday, Raizy Glauber “was not feeling well, so they decided to go” to the hospital, said Sara Glauber, Nachman Glauber’s cousin. Abraham said the Glaubers called a car service because they didn’t own a car, which is common for New Yorkers.
The Glaubers were married about a year ago and had begun a life together in Williamsburg, where Raizy Glauber grew up in a prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbinical family, Sara Glauber said.
Raised north of New York City in Monsey, N.Y., and part of a family that founded a line of clothing for Orthodox Jews, Nachman Glauber was studying at a rabbinical college nearby, said his cousin.
Brooklyn is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. The community has strict rules governing clothing, social customs and interaction with the outside world. Men wear dark clothing that includes a long coat and a fedora-type hat and often have long beards and ear locks.
Jewish law calls for burial of the dead as soon as possible, and hours after their deaths, the Glaubers were mourned by at least 1,000 people at a funeral outside the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue.
Afterward, the cars carrying the bodies left and headed to Monsey, where another service was planned in Nachman Glauber’s hometown.
Associated Press Writer Jim Fitzgerald in Kiryas Joel, N.Y., contributed to this report.
VosIzNeias.com, Eli Wohl/Associated Press