Brooklyn man, woman plead not guilty in crash that killed young couple

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

A Brooklyn woman was arraigned Thursday on charges that she caused a five-car pileup that killed two people and injured seven more on the Nassau Expressway in Lawrence.

Zakiyyah Steward, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of DWI and being under the influence of drugs.

Outside court, Steward's father claimed the crash was the victim's fault.

"The people who got killed, from what I heard, was the ones that initiated that accident. My car was totaled and if my daughter didn't take drastic actions to move out of the way, she would have been caught in that,” said Ntchwaidumela Bui.

He also insisted that she was not drinking.

Another driver involved in the crash, Rahmel Watkins, 35, was also arraigned at his bedside Thursday at South Nassau Communities Hospital. He pleaded not guilty to a DWI charge.

An attorney for Watkins says his client denies consuming any alcohol and is “trying to come to terms with what happened.”

Meanwhile, a funeral was held in Far Rockaway Thursday for a young engaged couple, Yisroel Levin, 21, of Brooklyn, and Elisheva Basya Kaplan, 20, of Far Rockaway, who died in the crash.

According to police, their car burst into flames after being hit between Burnside Avenue and Peninsula Boulevard.

The couple got engaged just a week ago and were supposed to get married in three months.

Steward was already set to be sentenced on felony burglary charges Friday. She was placed on $25,000 bond. Her family says they will not be able to post bond.

Charges against both Steward and Watkins could be upgraded.

  • CrimeMore>>

  • DA Sini: Port Jeff woman arrested after 4-year-old eats pot brownie

    DA Sini: Port Jeff woman arrested after 4-year-old eats pot brownie

    Friday, April 20 2018 6:02 PM EDT2018-04-20 22:02:39 GMT
    A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.

    A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.

    A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.

  • $75K offered for information on MS-13 threat against police

    $75K offered for information on MS-13 threat against police

    Friday, April 20 2018 5:26 PM EDT2018-04-20 21:26:28 GMT
    Authorities in Nassau and Suffolk are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest after police say they received a credible threat against officers by MS-13.Authorities in Nassau and Suffolk are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest after police say they received a credible threat against officers by MS-13.

    Authorities in Nassau and Suffolk are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest after police say they received a credible threat against officers by MS-13.

    Authorities in Nassau and Suffolk are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest after police say they received a credible threat against officers by MS-13.

  • Teen rescued from burning SUV, charged with DWI

    Teen rescued from burning SUV, charged with DWI

    Friday, April 20 2018 8:36 AM EDT2018-04-20 12:36:18 GMT
    Police say Mercedes Ramos was driving drunk when she crashed into the back of a Mack truck on Sunrise Highway near Exit 53 this morning.Police say Mercedes Ramos was driving drunk when she crashed into the back of a Mack truck on Sunrise Highway near Exit 53 this morning.
    Police say Mercedes Ramos was driving drunk when she crashed into the back of a Mack truck on Sunrise Highway near Exit 53 this morning.Police say Mercedes Ramos was driving drunk when she crashed into the back of a Mack truck on Sunrise Highway near Exit 53 this morning.

    Police say Mercedes Ramos was driving drunk when she crashed into the back of a Mack truck on Sunrise Highway near Exit 53 this morning.

    Police say Mercedes Ramos was driving drunk when she crashed into the back of a Mack truck on Sunrise Highway near Exit 53 this morning.

  • Long Island Top StoriesMore>>

  • DA Sini: Port Jeff woman arrested after 4-year-old eats pot brownie

    DA Sini: Port Jeff woman arrested after 4-year-old eats pot brownie

    Friday, April 20 2018 6:02 PM EDT2018-04-20 22:02:39 GMT
    A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.

    A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.

    A Port Jefferson woman was arrested Thursday after police say an investigation led them to believe that her 4-year-old son consumed a marijuana-laden brownie.

  • Police give all-clear after MacArthur Airport bomb threat

    Police give all-clear after MacArthur Airport bomb threat

    Friday, April 20 2018 10:07 PM EDT2018-04-21 02:07:12 GMT
    Police pulled passengers from a Frontier Airlines flight at Long Island MacArthur Airport Friday due to a bomb threat.Police pulled passengers from a Frontier Airlines flight at Long Island MacArthur Airport Friday due to a bomb threat.

    Police pulled passengers from a Frontier Airlines flight at Long Island MacArthur Airport Friday due to a bomb threat.

    Police pulled passengers from a Frontier Airlines flight at Long Island MacArthur Airport Friday due to a bomb threat.

  • Long Beach could face 12 percent tax hike

    Long Beach could face 12 percent tax hike

    Friday, April 20 2018 10:23 PM EDT2018-04-21 02:23:03 GMT
    People living in the city of Long Beach are facing a double-digit tax hike, Newsday reports.People living in the city of Long Beach are facing a double-digit tax hike, Newsday reports.

    A proposed 12 percent tax hike in Long Beach could raise property taxes by about $60 or $70 a month, according to one official.

    A proposed 12 percent tax hike in Long Beach could raise property taxes by about $60 or $70 a month, according to one official.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."