MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — A driver accused of hitting and killing a Brooklyn photographer on New Year's Eve sped off in his SUV because he was "scared," he told police when he was arrested on Thursday.
Prezidor Porbeni, 28, of The Bronx, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident in connection with the death of Guler Ugur-Yaacobi, 44. Police used surveillance footage in charging him.
Porbeni, who was driving with a suspended license, realized that he had hit someone in the crosswalk at West 113th Street along Amsterdam Avenue, briefly slowed down and then kept driving north on Amsterdam Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.
He then made two right turns, circling back to West 110th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, where he panicked.
He told police that he "saw all of the police commotion, became scared and drove away back to The Bronx," according to the complaint.
"I heard on the news that the woman I had hit had died," he told police, but he did not turn himself in.
Porbeni was driving his mother's black Range Rover, police said.
Ugur-Yaacobi was on her way to a concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine that night, an annual tradition with her friends.
Known as an exuberant and creative woman who always had her camera with her, Ugur-Yaacobi had planned to do a late-night run in Central Park after attending the concert.
She was born in Turkey and grew up in Germany before moving to the United States, and had recently lived in Kensington, Brooklyn, her friends said.
Porbeni was also charged with robbery and assault in a separate case in The Bronx.
On June, 5, 2014, he repeatedly punched his girlfriend, who was five months pregnant at the time, in the stomach, grabbed her by the neck and squeezed her neck so that she had trouble breathing, and stole her iPhone, according to a criminal complaint from the Bronx DA. The charges in that case are still pending.
Porbeni's lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.