An unlicensed driver who struck and killed a popular photographer on New Year’s Eve in 2014 was sentenced to 1-3 years behind bars on Monday.
Prezidor Porbeni, 30, previously pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and unlicensed driving in the death of 44-year-old Guler Ugur-Yaacobi.
Porbeni, who has a previous conviction for fraud, struck Ugur-Yaacobi, drove away from the tragic scene at W. 113th St. and Amsterdam Ave. and didn’t turn himself in for another week.
A friend of the victim read a heartfelt letter from the Ugur family in Germany, who could not attend.
“We want him to learn to regret what he has done,” read the friend, Derek Rose. “Because to this day, our family has neither heard an apology nor a word of remorse from Mr. Porbeni.”
“And this still hurts us,” the letter goes on.
Rose and several other friends of Ugur-Yaacobi were there for the proceeding.
Porbeni is a Nigerian native and will likely be deported upon his release from prison.
He was passing another car and says he didn’t see Ugur-Yaacobi crossing at the crosswalk against the light.
He also says he knew he hit someone but drove off out of panic.
“I’m a church-going man. I’m by no means some kind of heartless killer,” he said.
He turned to Ugur-Yaacobi’s pals in the courtroom and apologized “from the bottom of my heart.”