POSTED: 1:57 p.m. HST, Mar 6, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 6:27 p.m. HST, Mar 6, 2013
NEW YORK » A man suspected of fleeing the scene of a grisly New York crash that killed a pregnant woman and her husband was arrested at a Pennsylvania convenience store today after a friend arranged his surrender, and he was ordered held without bail.
Julio Acevedo walked to officers waiting in cars in the parking lot in Bethlehem, Pa., and was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. Acevedo said nothing to officers who took him into custody, Browne said.
Acevedo is accused of speeding down a Brooklyn street at 60 mph early Sunday and crashing into a car carrying Nachman and Raizy Glauber. The Glaubers, both 21 years old, died Sunday, and their premature son, delivered by cesarean section, died Monday.
The surrender of Acevedo was brokered by a friend who had been in touch with police earlier in the day. The friend met officers at New York's Grand Central Terminal and then led them to Acevedo in Bethlehem, about 80 miles away, police said.
Acevedo, 44, was ordered held without bail on a charge of being a fugitive from justice late Wednesday during a video hearing. A judge said Acevedo would be held overnight in Lehigh County Prison while awaiting an extradition hearing Thursday to address his return to New York, said The Express-Times newspaper, of Easton, Pa.
Acevedo said he understood.
It was unclear if Acevedo had an attorney. The friend had told police that Acevedo would surrender after consulting an attorney, but none was with him when he turned himself in, Browne said.
Acevedo told the Daily News that he was fleeing a gunman who was trying to shoot at him when his borrowed BMW slammed into a hired car carrying the couple. He told the newspaper he fled because he was worried he'd be killed. But police said there were no reports of shots fired in the area at the time of the wreck.
The tragedy unfolded shortly after midnight Saturday, when Raizy Glauber, who was seven months pregnant, decided to go to the hospital because she wasn't feeling well, her family said. The Glaubers 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 livery cab to a crumpled heap, and Raizy Glauber was thrown from it. The cab's engine ended up in the back seat. The driver of the cab was knocked unconscious.
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 couple's son 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.
He was buried Monday near his parents' graves, according to a spokesman for the Hasidic Jewish community. About a thousand community members turned out for the young couple's funeral a day earlier.
Word of Acevedo's arrest was met with bittersweet satisfaction in the Glaubers' community.
"It's a sweet bitter pill to swallow," said Isaac Abraham, a spokesman for the community. "It's a little good news that at least the man responsible has been arrested, but it doesn't bring any of the victims back."
He added that community members hoped Acevedo would face murder charges.
"We in the community hope that today is Acevedo's last day that he sees daylight for the rest of his life," he said.
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. on Feb. 17. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, over the limit of 0.08, police said.
He served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter after he was convicted of shooting a Brooklyn criminal whose moniker, 50 Cent, was the inspiration for rapper Curtis Jackson's current stage name.
How Acevedo came to possess the BMW is under investigation. The registered owner was arrested Sunday on insurance fraud charges related to the vehicle, but the case was deferred.
Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.