NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Heartbreak overcame the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday, as a manhunt continued in the nighttime hours for a driver who slammed into a livery cab, killing a young couple expecting their first child as they headed to the hospital.
As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported, Nathan and Raizy Glauber, both 21, were using a car service to go to the hospital just after midnight on Sunday when another car hit them. Meanwhile, the couple’s baby, a boy, was delivered by emergency C-section.
The couple was turning onto Kent Avenue from Wilson Street, on the south side of Williamsburg at the time of the accident. Raizy Glauber was expecting, and was in a hurry to get to the hospital.
“She was premature; couldn’t feel the baby,” said Raizy Glauber’s aunt, Ruchel Bochnel. “They wanted to check it out.”
A BMW smashed into them livery cab. A witness told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller that the BMW was speeding at the time.
The car then spun onto the other side of the road.
“The woman was thrown out of the car. The driver was OK, the airbags saved him, minor scratches. On impact, the husband was killed immediately,” community leader Isaac Abraham told Miller.
The expectant mother landed under a tractor-trailer, according to police. Witnesses said Nathan Glauber was pinned in the car, and emergency workers had to cut off the roof to get him out.
The driver of the livery cab , identified as Pedro Nunez, called 911. He was treated and released from Bellevue Hospital for minor injuries, WCBS 880 reported.
Police Sunday night were looking for a man and woman who took off from the car, and remained on the run.
Witnesses said the impact of the crash sounded like a bomb went off. According to the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, Nathan and Raizy Glauber both died of blunt-force trauma.
On Sunday afternoon, a crowd gathered as the Williamsburg Jewish community was in the throes of overwhelming grief.
“This is a community that we have children, and we look forward to every child, every child is a gift from God,” one person in the crowd said.
Jewish law calls for burial of the dead as soon as possible, so hundreds gathered outside a synagogue to mourn the Glaubers, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
It did not matter whether they knew the victims, as the Williamsburg Orthodox Jewish community considers itself one family, 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported. So many showed up for the funeral that services had to be held in the street.
“It’s just unbelievable knowing that this child will now be raised without parents,” Abraham told Miller. “The impact will be from the schools to the shuls, to friends and neighbors. And the outreach will be tremendous.”
Women held their faces in mourning as a little boy touched the caskets. The men carried the caskets through the streets.
“They were one soul. They were one soul,” said Sarah Gluck, Nathan Glauber’s cousin. “They were one entity. They were exactly the same. They were so together; did everything together — just a beautiful couple.”
The baby boy was at Bellevue Sunday night, his birth both miraculous and sad. He will be cared for by his grandparents, Miller reported.
“As of last night I heard the baby was alive on a respirator,” said a neighbor who lives next door to Raizy Glauber’s parents. “The shock is too, too overwhelming.”
Added Abraham: “Children go to the grave of their parents. Parents don’t go to funerals of children. And here we’re going to have two sets of parents going.”
Raizy Glauber was mourned for her kindness, Nathan Glauber for his generosity.
“Always soft spoken quiet person never hurt a soul,” Gluck described her cousin. “Always doing favors for everybody.”
Family members said Nathan Gluber’s mother had just had a baby too. They said they know he would have made an amazing father because he tended to his mother during her pregnancy the way he took care of his wife.
Questions about the crash fell to the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, where representatives described Nunez, the surviving livery cab driver. He was a husband and a father of three, with another child on the way himself.
There was a stop sign at the scene, although it was not clear which car had the right of way.
“We don’t know, we haven’t spoken to him, but we don’t believe — it’s highly unlikely that if there was a stop sign there, that would have just ran the stop sign,” said federation President Fernando Mateo.
According to police, the driver of the BMW fled on foot.
Police told 1010 WINS that a man and woman were seen fleeing the scene and that the man was behind the wheel.
Police have questioned the owner of the BMW involved in the crash. She was not in the car in the time and is not considered a suspect.
Police told CBS 2 the car was not stolen.
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