Joel Kaplan On L.I. Fatal Crash

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Defendants In Court In L.I. Crash That Killed Couple About To Be Married

June 20, 2018 - 2:42 pm

MINEOLA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- A young couple about to be married was killed in April, when prosecutors said two drivers speeding in Lawrence, Long Island crashed into their vehicle.

Now, as WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, this month should have been a happy month for family members of Elisheva Kaplan and Yisroel Levin. They were supposed to be married.

But instead, dozens of their family members attended a court hearing in Nassau County Wednesday, to watch as Rahmel Watkins and Zakiyah Steward were arraigned on serious charges – including manslaughter and vehicular homicide – for causing Kaplan and Levin’s deaths.

“They were destined for a beautiful life together as husband and wife,” said Kaplan’s father, Joel Kaplan. “The world shook when they were so abruptly taken from us.”

Prosecutors said the two defendants were going twice the speed limit on April 4, when they crashed into the Nissan driven by the couple. The car then exploded and burst into flames.

The defendants were handcuffed in court as both pleaded not guilty. Watkins, who has a long violent criminal history, was held on $1 million bond.

Stewart was held on $500,000 bond.

The two friends, prosecutors said, were headed to a casino when the crash occurred.