Yisroel Levin and Elisheva Kaplan, a"h

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that two people were arraigned on grand jury indictment charges for the fatal Inwood crash that killed 21-year-old Yisroel Levin and his 20-year-old fiancé Elisheva Kaplan.

Zakiyyah Steward, 25, of Brooklyn was arraigned Wednesday on counts of aggravated vehicular homicide (a B felony), manslaughter in the second degree (a C felony), assault in the second degree (a D felony), vehicular manslaughter in the first degree (a C felony), vehicular manslaughter in the second degree (a D felony), reckless endangerment, reckless driving and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Rahmel Watkins, 35, of Brooklyn was arraigned Wednesday on counts of manslaughter in the second degree (a C felony), assault in the second degree (a D felony), reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

Bail was set at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash for Watkins and $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash for Steward. The defendants are due back in court July 18.

“This indictment alleges that Yisroel and Elishiva’s lives were stolen, just as their lives were about to begin as a married couple, by the defendants who recklessly drove too fast in bad weather and while one of them was intoxicated,” District Attorney Singas said. “Nassau County will not tolerate this kind of unconscionable disregard for life. My heart goes out to the Levin and Kaplan families.”

On April 4, 2018, at approximately 1:40 a.m., according to court papers, defendants Rahmel Watkins and Zakiyyah Steward were allegedly part of a group of cars traveling in the northbound lanes of the Nassau Expressway in Inwood from Far Rockaway to a Queens casino. Defendant Watkins was allegedly operating a 2010 BMW 550 GT recklessly and at a high rate of speed when his vehicle crossed over the double yellow lines and struck a 2017 Nissan Altima head-on being driven by Levin, with Kaplan in the passenger seat. They were returning home from a Passover gathering and were to be married this month.

The Altima burst into flames, was pushed backward and continued to burn, killing Levin and Kaplan. Watkins then struck a silver Infiniti being driven by James Hamilton, fracturing his spine and causing injuries to his ankle and knee.

At the same time, Steward was allegedly driving a 2016 Hyundai Genesis next to Watkins while allegedly driving at a high rate of speed, while intoxicated and impaired by marijuana. Steward’s vehicle also struck Mr. Levin’s Altima. The defendants suffered minor injuries in the crash.

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