NEW YORK – A close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn was plunged into a new round of mourning Monday by the death of a baby who was delivered by cesarean section after his parents were killed in a grisly hit-and-run crash a day earlier.
Police hunted for the suspected driver, identified as Julio Acevedo, saying he was barreling down a residential street in a BMW at 60 mph, or twice the speed limit, early Sunday when he collided with a car hired to take the couple to the hospital.
The death of the newborn on Monday piled tragedy upon tragedy and compounded the community’s grief.
The baby was buried near the fresh graves of his parents, Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21, according to Isaac Abraham, a spokesman for the Hasidic Jewish community. About a thousand community members turned out for the young couple’s funeral a day earlier.
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.
Brooklyn is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. The couple wed last year in a marriage arranged through a matchmaker and were living in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
They were members of the Satmar Hasidic sect, whose men dress in dark coats and hats, wear long beards like their Eastern European ancestors and have limited dealings with the outside world.
Sabel, dressed in the traditional long black coat of the Satmar, said it was a terrible tragedy.
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.
The baby weighed only about 4 pounds when he was delivered, neighbors and friends said. He died of extreme prematurity, the city medical examiner’s office said.
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.
Acevedo, 44, was arrested last month on a charge of driving while under the influence, and the case is pending. He served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter.