Raizy and Nachman Glauber at their wedding in January 2012. (VosIzNeias.com )
NEW YORK -- A suspected hit-and-run driver was charged Thursday with vehicular homicide, criminally negligent homicide and other crimes in the deaths of a young couple and their baby, killed after a speeding BMW slammed into their taxicab on a New York City street last weekend.
Prosecutors announced the charges hours after Julio Acevedo, 44, was returned to New York from Pennsylvania, where he turned himself in to police four days after the crash that stunned the city and threw the victims’ close-knit Orthodox Jewish community into mourning.
Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21, were headed to the hospital early Sunday when their cab was hit by a BMW that witnesses say was speeding through the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Raizy Glauber was six or seven months pregnant. Her premature baby boy was delivered via emergency C-section, but died on Monday, a day after his parents.
Witnesses saw the BMW driver run from the scene. Police identified him as Acevedo, who has served time in prison for manslaughter and who was facing a recent charge of driving under the influence.
On Wednesday, Acevedo surrendered and was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident.
On Thursday night, prosecutors added vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and causing the death of a child passenger to the charges. The most serious charge – vehicular manslaughter – carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Acevedo has said that he was speeding to get away from someone who had been shooting at him, and that he fled the crash scene because he thought someone was trying to kill him. He said in media interviews earlier in the week that he did not know anyone had died in the crash. Acevedo also said that the cab “came out of nowhere” and that he could not avoid hitting it.
Police say there were no reported shootings in the area at the time Acevedo says he was targeted.
The cab driver, Pedro Nunez, who survived with minor injuries, said he was stopped at an intersection when the BMW hit him. The Glaubers had summoned the taxi to take them to a hospital after Raizy Glauber complained of feeling ill.
Nunez, speaking to reporters Thursday, said he was reminded of the Glauber family’s loss each time he looked around his own home and saw his three children. “I’m thinking about another family,” he said.
Acevedo waived an extradition hearing when he appeared in a Pennsylvania court on Thursday, limping from what appeared to be an injury to his left leg.
“We hope he will get the justice he deserves,” said a relative of the Glaubers, Gary Schlesinger, the online news site DNAinfo.com reported. “Hopefully this is going to put some closure to the tragedy," Schlesinger added. "The pain is still there, but it puts some closure to it."
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