A man wanted for the hit-and-run crash in New York City that killed Reb Nachman and Mrs. Raizy Glauber and caused the death of their newborn son, z”l, was arrested Wednesday, authorities said.
The devastating tragedy plunged the Jewish community into deep mourning, and there were increasing calls for the driver to be charged with homicide.
New York City police said they arrested Julio Acevedo at a mini-mart in Bethlehem, Pa.
Acevedo allegedly was speeding down a Brooklyn street in a BMW at 60 mph Motzoei Shabbos, when he collided with a car carrying the Glaubers.
It was not immediately 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.
Police said the driver of the BMW ran away.
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.
In a news conference held earlier on Wednesday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly knocked down a claim by Acevedo in a phone call to a newspaper that he was fleeing a gunman who was trying to shoot at him when his borrowed speeding BMW slammed into car service carrying the couple.
The suspect told the Daily News that he fled the scene because he was worried he’d be killed, and claimed he didn’t know the couple had died until he saw it in the news. But Kelly said there were no reports of shots fired in the area at the time of the wreck.
The police commissioner said it would be up to Brooklyn district attorney to decide whether Acevedo would be charged with manslaughter, or only for the lesser crime of leaving the scene of an accident.