Cops Scour BMW for Spit to Prove Drunk Driving in Hit-and-Run, Sources Say
By DNAinfo Staff on March 7, 2013 2:09pm |
BROOKLYN — Police are scouring the BMW that belonged to Julio Acevedo, the suspected driver in the fatal Williamsburg crash that killed a young Hasidic couple and their newborn boy, for traces of blood or saliva that could prove Acevedo was driving drunk, sources said.
Acevedo — who was hauled back to Brooklyn Thursday afternoon to face charges in the hit-and-run, a day after surrendering to police in Pennsylvania — was charged with criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, assault, reckless driving and speeding, prosecutors said.
At his arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court late Thursday evening, Judge Stephen Antignani ordered Acevedo held without bail and suspended his driver's license.
He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years to life and a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted, prosecutors said.
Even as Acevedo was arraigned, the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney's office continued to hunt for evidence to show that Acevedo was drunk when he allegedly slammed his BMW into a livery cab carrying pregnant Raizy Glauber and her husband Nachman Glauber on Kent Avenue near Wilson Street early Sunday morning, sources said.
Acevedo, 44, a convicted killer who had been arrested for drunk driving two weeks before the fatal crash, has said he was fleeing gunshots when he hit the Glaubers' cab, an account Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has questioned.
Acevedo has admitted to speeding at 60 miles per hour at the time of the crash, and police were also looking for additional evidence of recklessness, like if Acevedo ran a red light or crossed the double yellow lines, sources said.
Just before the crash, witnesses saw Acevedo swerve around a fire truck, swerve around another vehicle and then accelerate and hit the livery cab, according to the criminal complaint.
If prosecutors could prove Acevedo was drunk, that could lead to even more severe charges against him, sources said.
Police initially also charged Acevedo with vehicular manslaughter, but the prosecutors did not bring that charge against him in court Thursday night.
Also Thursday night, Judge Antignani issued an order of protection against Acevedo for the driver of the livery cab.
Acevedo did not speak during the court appearance but nodded at his family members as he was led into the courtroom.
"He's obviously broken-hearted about what happened," said Kathleen Julian, Acevedo's defense attorney. "He feels terribly for the family."
Still, she added, "I think the facts in this case will ultimately show that what happened was a horrible accident."
Brooklyn's District Attorney Charles Hynes said earlier Thursday that Acevedo, who was arrested in Bethlehem, Pa., would face the "most serious crime available" based on the evidence prosecutors had.
“When we arraign the defendant we will announce that we have charged him with the most serious crime available based of the facts, pending a further review of all forensics including DNA by a Kings County Grand Jury," Hynes said in a statement.
But Isaac Abraham, a Williamsburg community leader and neighbor of Raizy Glauber's parents, called the charges against Acevedo "a Coors Light."
"He got very light charges," Abraham said. "I don't know if this is the best the prosecutor could do."
The Glaubers, both 21, were en route to the hospital with labor pains when the crash occurred. They were taken to area hospitals, where they died. Their son was delivered prematurely and clung to life for a day before dying Monday morning.
Acevedo arrived at the Prospect Heights' 78th Precinct stationhouse about 1:55 p.m. Thursday, clad in the blue hoodie he was arrested in, and slowly walked into the precinct, escorted by an NYPD officer.
Acevedo's arrival in New York brought an end to a four-day manhunt in which Acevedo promised to turn himself in to police and Commissioner Kelly questioned whether he was playing "games" with law enforcement.
Acevedo, who has prior convictions for manslaughter and drunk driving, eluded capture for four days until he turned himself in to police in the parking lot of a Hill Minit Market in Bethlehem, Pa. about 5:10 p.m. Wednesday.
He waived extradition at a hearing in Pennsylvania the next morning and New York police brought him to the Brooklyn precinct, where the NYPD's warrants squad is based, for processing.
The young couple's death rattled the close-knit Williamsburg Hasidic community. Acevedo's capture brought some relief, but leaders said they hoped he'll face severe charges.
"We hope he will get the justice he deserves," Gary Schlesinger, a relative of the Glaubers and a community leader in South Williamsburg, said Wednesday.
"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."
Acevedo will next appear in court March 13.