Julio Acevedo, the driver suspected of racing down a Brooklyn street at more than 60 mph and crashing into a livery cab, killing an expectant Orthodox Jewish mother and her husband, was conferring with a lawyer Tuesday and plans to surrender to police, published reports said.
But police said late Tuesday they hadn't been in contact with Acevedo.
"We are still looking to apprehend him," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. "We have no information that he is going to surrender."
The Daily News reported earlier Tuesday that Acevedo, 44, said in a phone interview that a gunman was pursuing him as he sped down a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, street before he slammed his car into the cab carrying the couple, Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21. Raizy Glauber was seven months pregnant when she was killed.
"My heart goes out to them," Acevedo told the newspaper Tuesday in a phone call arranged by a friend. "I didn't know they died until I saw the news."
The friend who arranged the call, Derrick Hamilton, said Acevedo was running for his life after the crash, and he called it a terrible accident.
"He's meeting with a lawyer right now. They are going to arrange how to turn himself in," Hamilton told The Associated Press.
NYPD spokesmen said Acevedo, a New Yorker whose image has been splashed across newspapers and television screens throughout the area, was still being sought but that even if negotiations were under way for a surrender, "I wouldn't confirm it."
Separately, the Brooklyn Orthodox community where the Glaubers are from is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to Acevedo's arrest. The Glaubers' premature son was delivered by Cesarean section shortly after the early Sunday morning hit-and-run crash but died a day later of "extreme prematurity," according to the city medical examiner's office.
"We in the community are demanding that the prosecutor charge the driver of the BMW that caused the death of this couple and infant ... with triple homicide," Isaac Abraham, a spokesman for the Orthodox Jewish community, said in a statement. "This coward left the scene of the accident not even bothering to check on the people of the other car."
Acevedo served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter after he was convicted of shooting Kelvin Martin, a Brooklyn criminal whose moniker "50 Cent" was the inspiration for rapper Curtis Jackson's current stage name.
Last month, officers stopped Acevedo, who was driving erratically. Acevedo was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .13%, well over the .08% limit for legal intoxication in the state, police said, and was charged with driving while under the influence.
No one answered the door at Acevedo's last known address in a public housing complex in Brooklyn.
How Acevedo came to possess the BMW in the crash 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 the condition of anonymity.
On the night of the crash, Raizy Glauber wasn't feeling well, so she and her husband decided to go to the hospital, said Sara Glauber, Nachman Glauber's cousin. They called a livery cab.
The livery cab came to a stop sign, but it's not clear whether the driver stopped. The crash with the BMW reduced the cab to a crumpled heap, and Raizy Glauber was thrown from the wreckage.
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.
Hundreds of Satmars, a Hasidic denomination, have been mourning the couple in Brooklyn and Monsey, the respective hometowns of Raizy and Nachman Glauber. All three crash victims were buried at a Satmar cemetery in Kiryas Joel.
"The mood in the neighborhood is very heavy," said Oscar Sabel, a retired printer who lives near the scene of the accident. "We all hoped the baby would survive."
"But it's what God wants," he said. "Maybe the baby's death, and his parents', is not for nothing; God doesn't have to give us answers."
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.
With The Associated Press