MAN ARRESTED IN FATAL AMSTERDAM AVENUE HIT-AND-RUN

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Guler Ugur-Yaacobi

Prezidor Porbeni, a 28-year-old Bronx resident, was arrested and charged for the hit and run on 113th street and Amsterdam Avenue on New Year’s Eve that killed 44-year-old photographer Guler Ugur-Yaacobi. Porbeni, who surrendered to the Manhattan DA’s office, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death and driving with a suspended license. He told police that he had initially driven back to the scene after hitting Ugur-Yaacobi, but drove away out of fear.

The police complaint is below:

“I reviewed video from the vicinity of West 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue from St. Luke’s Hospital on December 31, 2014. I observed, on video which was time and date stamped for December 31, 2014 at approximately 6:02pm, a black Range Rover traveling northbound on Amsterdam Avenue in the right lane, strike a woman, on the front right hand side of the vehicle, whose name and address are known to the New York County District Attorney’s Office, in the south crosswalk of West 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. I further observed the woman’s body, after being struck, being thrown north through the intersection, coming to rest approximately 80 feet from the point of impact in the right hand lane of Amsterdam Avenue. I further observed on video, the above mentioned black Range Rover continue to drive north on Amsterdam Avenue.

I further state that I spoke to a representative of St. Luke’s Hospital who stated in substance to me that the above described woman was pronounced deceased at the hospital at approximately 6:11pm.

I further state that on January 8, 2015, defendant stated to me, in substance, that he was DRIVING MY MOM’S BLACK RANGE ROVER WITH NEW YORK LICENSE PLATE NUMBER _____ NORTH ON AMSTERDAM AVENUE. I CHANGED LANES FROM THE LEFT HAND LANE TO THE RIGHT LANE TO GO AROUND A SLOWER MOVING VEHICLE. WHILE IN THE RIGHT LANE, AS I WAS APPROACHING THE INTERSECTION, I STRUCK A WOMAN ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF MY CAR. I SLOWED DOWN AND THEN KEPT DRIVING NORTH ON AMSTERDAM AVENUE, MADE A RIGHT HAND TURN AND ANOTHER RIGHT HAND TURN. I THEN DROVE TO THE INTERSECTION OF 110TH STREET AND AMSTERDAM AVENUE, SAW ALL OF THE POLICE COMMOTION, BECAME SCARED AND DROVE AWAY BACK TO THE BRONX. I HEARD ON THE NEWS THAT THE WOMAN I HAD HIT, HAD DIED.

I examined the defendant’s Abstract of Driving Record from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and determined that the defendant’s license was suspended and has not been reinstated.

I know that the defendant knew his license was suspended because the abstract revealed that his license was suspended for a conviction of a moving violation during the defendant’s probationary license period, the Department of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice to the defendant’s last known address which stated that the defendant’s license was suspended for sixty days and that the defendant must pay a $25.00 suspension termination fee before his driver license or privilege can be restored.”

Update: Samuel Feldman, Probeni’s lawyer, called us back on Monday.

He said that his client has acknowledged that much of the information in the DA’s complaint, but added that “Nobody’s disputing that she crossed against the light,” he said.

She says Probeni was driving up Amsterdam when the car in front of him suddenly slowed down. “He goes into right lane to pass the person.”

Suddenly, he sees Ugur-Yaacobi in front of him.

“When he now sees her at the last second he tries to swerve to left thinking shell continue go to right, but instinctively she jumps toward the left. he hits her and panics.”

He says his client was surprised by the claim that Ugur-Yaacobi was thrown 80 feet after the collision. “It doesn’t paint a good picture the way it’s written,” Feldman said.

“He’s saying ‘I wasn’t speeding.'”

Feldman said police wouldn’t have been able to charge his client with anything had he stayed at the scene, and that Probeni turned himself in not out of fear of getting caught but because he couldn’t have lived with himself otherwise — “the police didn’t have his plate number.”

The next court date is January 15.

NEWS | 10 comments | permalink
    1. Mary says:

      Her body came to rest 80 feet from the point of impact? Can that possibly be correct? Poor woman.

    2. DMH says:

      Cy Vance should charge him for manslaughter or vehicular homicide. Charge to reflect the death, not just driving on a suspended license and fleeing the scene of an ‘accident’.

      Driving on a suspended license, passing on the right, striking a pedestrian so hard she flies 80 feet – is this really still called ‘an accident’?

      Wonder how fast he was going, wonder what the police would’ve found in the SUV at the time (no way to know), wonder if the SUV has been impounded as evidence. If you drive a not-stolen car on a suspended license and are in a collision, is there any legal repercussion w/r/t the car?

      At the end of the day, I live on Amsterdam. It really terrifies me that drivers like this are speeding through my neighborhood with impunity. CIS did a great job catching this guy, but Guler Ugur-Yaacobi is gone. DNAinfo published charges the driver is facing in a separate case and they aren’t pretty. I don’t want to pile on to Probeni – he’s innocent until proven guilty – but Cy Vance should charge for the death so we can get drivers like this off the streets.

    3. liza says:

      Damn shame.. Another life lost.. He shouldnt have been driving period!

    4. Lukas says:

      You can still see Prezidor Porbeni posing with his mother’s Range Rover on his facebook page. He should probably chage that picture now. And you will not believe what the latest post is on his timeline: How to deal with the police if they stop you. It’s too bad he didn’t stop and talk to the police the day he mowed this poor woman down.

      https://www.facebook.com/prezidor

    5. Scott says:

      I notice the defendant in this case has lots of anti-cop invective on his Facebook page. Huge shock there. Criminals really, really don’t like cops. And often they lie. Why don’t our media get these basic facts?

    6. Rob says:

      I can imagine my 1980s Drivers Ed teacher rolling her eyes right now.

      Any driver knows that when the car in front of you slows, you have to exercise caution and slow as well. You don’t know what has caused the driver in front to slow, so you slow down and don’t speed up again until you see it is safe to proceed.

      And any idea why Probeni needed to drive with a suspended license and then fled the scene? Perhaps he had been drinking and didn’t want to take a breathalyzer test? It was New Years Eve.

    7. Pedestrian says:

      I bet he left the scene to avoid a breathalyzer.

    8. Julia says:

      Thanks for posting this piece! The resolution is important t all of us. Somehow we need to reach people who drive w/o licenses and/or carelessly.