Suspect in deadly hit and run turns himself in for multiple charges

The man accused of the tragic hit-and-run accident that killed a Hasidic couple and ultimately their newborn child on March 3 has turned himself in to face unspecified charges. According to reports, this was the man convicted of manslaughter in the 1987 shooting death of Kelvin "50 Cent" Martin. The prosecutor says he has prior convictions for a firearm offense and a parole violation. He was also apparently charged with DWI just two weeks before the alleged hit and run.

Just after midnight on Sunday, police say. the victims were in a taxi because the pregnant wife was feeling early labor pains. An eyewitness claims to have seen a BMW accelerate to possibly 60 mph, swerve around a fire truck, and slam into the taxi. The wreck was catastrophic, killing the couple and forcing the child to be extracted two months early. The child died on Monday morning.

These events have caused a firestorm of controversy here in the city. The New York Post called the defendant's "a wasted life." The leader of the couple's Hasidic community said he should "rot in jail before [he] rot[s] in hell. While he was only arrested for leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, before the charges were determined, the Brooklyn District Attorney openly said he hoped the man would get 25 years to life.

The 44-year-old father of two with an 11th grade education, and who lives with his mother, does have a couple of points in his favor, though. A few days after the crash, he said he would seek an attorney and turn himself in. He didn't have to do that -- police said they were pursuing leads in several states but they had not found him. He did not know that the infant had died before seeing it on the news.

He claims that someone shot at his car just before the wreck, which is what caused him to speed up and change lanes to evade pursuit. (Police dispute that account.) Also, the driver of the taxi may have failed to stop at a stop sign.

Most important, he claims it was an accident. While we can all agree that this was a heartrending loss, it's hard not to wonder if the man's history of alleged criminal behavior is the real cause of the public's outrage. Tragically, as his defense attorney pointed out, "People die in car accidents every day. It happens ... Wrong place, wrong time."

He is now being held without bail on three counts each of criminally negligent homicide, vehicular assault and leaving the scene of an accident.


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