MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn photographer who was killed in a hit-and-run on New Year’s Eve was on her way to a concert at St. John the Divine when she was mowed down by an SUV, her friend said.
She was also planning to join a late-night run in Central Park to celebrate the new year.
"It’s terrible," said Turkel, who was on the phone with the victim in the moments before she died. "It’s a very big shock to everyone."
The 44-year-old victim, a German immigrant, first dropped Turkel at the ticket line in front of the cathedral at 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue before looking for a parking spot, her grieving friend said.
“She called me and she was very excited because she had parked on 114th and Amsterdam,” Turkel remembered.
“Then she hung up quickly, you know. I think something happened at that time, normally she would talk forever.”
Turkel, who met Ugur-Yaacobi several years ago through the TriBeCa synagogue where she is one of the vice-presidents, said she waited inside the cathedral, keeping a seat for her friend.
“But at some point it was just too long, so I left the seats and went back outside,” she remembered.
There, she remembers seeing police officers.
"I approached the police and they told me there had been an accident," she said. "I gave them (Ugur-Yaacobi's) name, it took a little while but they eventually told me 'yes, that's the one.'"
Ugur-Yaacobi was struck by a black SUV while she was crossing Amsterdam Avenue near 113th street at around 6 p.m., police said. The driver fled and no arrest had been made as of Friday afternoon, officials said.
Friends described Ugur-Yaacobi as a creative woman who was full of life and who was never without her camera.
Turkel described her as “very generous and loving.”
“When she picked me up that night (to go to the concert) she brought me flowers,” she said.
Ugur-Yaacobi, who was born in Turkey and raised in Germany, was the oldest of eight children, her friends said.
Three family members are expected to arrive from Germany and were expected to organize her funeral in Europe, Wine and Turkel said.
Ugur-Yaacobi was part of the TriBeCa synagogue and a memorial service might be organized there in the next coming days, said Wine who is a member of the synagogue's board.