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.
Matzav.com 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.