Brooklyn Man, Woman Indicted in Crash that Killed Yisroel Levin z”l and Elisheva Kaplan a”h


A Brooklyn man and woman pleaded not guilty to new charges after a Nassau grand jury handed down a 19-count indictment stemming from the fatal crash that killed chosson and kallah Yisroel Levin z”l and Elisheva Kaplan a”h, News 12 reports.

District Attorney Madeline Singas says defendants Rahmel Watkins, 35, and Zakatyah Steward, 25, were driving at nearly double the speed limit on April 4 on the Nassau Expressway in Lawrence.

Five cars, with nine total occupants, were involved in the crash at about 1:40 a.m. on Chol Hamoed Pesach on the Nassau Expressway between Burnside Avenue and Peninsula Boulevard.

Singas says the defendants 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. Watkins and Steward are facing a slew of charges, including manslaughter in the second degree. reported yesterday that the NY Daily News reported that Nassau County investigators are frustrated that bigwigs at a German-based carmaker are giving them a hard time in trying to determine the exact speed of a 2010 BMW 550i GT that caused the crash.

In April, manslaughter charges were levied against one of the drivers involved in the crash, 35-year-old Rahmel Watkins, who was previously charged with a DWI and was on parole for a felony assault. In the April 4th incident, police said that Watkins was driving dangerously fast and seemed to have been racing another car. Watkins’ car crossed the center line on the Nassau Expressway and smashed into the Nissan Altima carrying Yisroel and Elisheva. Watkins pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Another driver, 25-year-old Zakiyyah Steward, was charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, DWI and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The Daily News reports that District Attorney Madeline Singas wrote to BMW last month asking for help in accessing a possible data recorder inside the BMG Watkins was driving. “The speed of the BMW is an essential component of the investigation and traditional collision reconstruction methods are hampered by the involvement of multiple vehicles and multiple impacts,” Singas wrote on May 16. Thus far, according to the report, BMW has been non-cooperative.

{ Newscenter}


  1. There is nothing, NOTHING, that can be considered payment for what they did. I think of Yisroel constantly. The pain is still everpresent in my life, although it has dulled somewhat. Yisroel was a gem, someone who was able to walk into a room of complete strangers, and walk out leaving them all with the feeling that they just gained a new best friend. And they actually did.
    There were so many countless times that Yisroel saw that I was having a hard day or feeling down, and he would come over, give me a pat on the back, a well placed compliment and the feeling that I was worth a million bucks. He was so full of jokes, so full of laughter, but never did he use his sense of humor to hurt anyone. I personally wittnessed him trying to stop a group of kids from bullying another who had some social issues. Hes was probably 14 then. And I’ll never forget the look of pain on his face when he saw the kid getting hurt.
    This last purim he gave me a hug and said “I love you” I obviously replied in kind “I love you too”. And then he turned to me, suddenly crying, and he said “you don’t mean that do you?”. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about how it would be possible for Yisroel to believe that I didn’t love him. Everybody did, because it was clear as day that he loved them. Why would he be surprised? And I realized then that Yisroel treated others like royalty because he loved each and every person. It didnt even cross his mind that he should be treated in kind. Everybody felt like his family because to him they truly were.
    I don’t want anyone to think that I managed to capture even a fraction of the man Yisroel was. You can’t paint a picture of one who epitomized pure and utter wholeness. I’ll forever miss him. And so will countless others. I didn’t realy know Elisheva. But I do know that If Yisroel took to her, she must’ve been an incredible personality as well.
    Over the past few years Yisroel always talked about sending “packages” to his brother (Ahron ben Yeshayahu HaLevi). Everyone try to send some packages to Yisroel ben Yeshayahu HaLevi and Elisheva Basya bas Yechiel Ephraim. May their Neshamos have Aliyos.


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