NEW YORK (AP) — The suspected driver who fled the scene of a grisly crash that killed a pregnant woman, her husband and ultimately the child they were expecting said Tuesday that he planned to surrender, though police continued searching for him and said they would arrest him if they found him.
Julio Acevedo, 44, told the Daily News of New York that he was speeding away from a gunman who was trying to shoot at him early Sunday when the accident with a hired car happened in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
He said he fled the scene because he was worried he'd be killed and didn't know the couple had died until he saw it in newspapers.
"My heart goes out to them," Acevedo told the newspaper Tuesday in a phone call arranged by a friend. "I didn't know they died until I saw the news."
The friend who arranged the call, Derrick Hamilton, said Acevedo was running for his life after the crash, and called it a terrible accident. "He's meeting with a lawyer right now, they are going to arrange how to turn himself in," Hamilton told The Associated Press.
Police said later Tuesday they had had no contact with Acevedo.
"We are still looking to apprehend him," spokesman Paul Browne said. "We have no information that he is going to surrender."
Acevedo was in a BMW going at least 60 mph when he crashed into another car carrying Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21. They died Sunday, and their premature son died Monday. The hired car had a stop sign; it's not clear if the driver stopped.
Acevedo was arrested last month on a charge of driving while under the influence, and the case is pending. He was stopped by police after they said he was driving erratically around 3 a.m. Feb. 17. He had a blood-alcohol level of .13, over the limit of .08, police said.
He served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter after he was convicted of shooting Kelvin Martin, a Brooklyn criminal whose moniker "50 Cent" was the inspiration for rapper Curtis Jackson's current stage name. Neighbors said his mother lived in the same building, but she did not answer her door.
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 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. The driver of the livery cab was knocked unconscious but was not seriously hurt.
The couple belonged to a close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, which is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. They were members of the Satmar Hasidic sect. 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.
The child was delivered by cesarean section after his parents were killed. The baby weighed only about 4 pounds when he was delivered, neighbors and friends said. He died of extreme prematurity, the city medical examiner's office said.
The baby 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. They offered $15,000 reward for information leading to Acevedo's capture and called for murder charges to be filed.
How Acevedo came to possess the BMW is under investigation. The registered owner, Takia Walker, was arrested Sunday on insurance fraud charges in a scam involving the car, police said, but the Bronx district attorney's office said Tuesday that the case was deferred. Walker was not involved in the crash. A telephone number listed for her rang unanswered.