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Two Sentenced For 2018 Long Island Crash That Killed Newly Engaged Couple

Zakiyyah Steward Photo Credit: NCPD
Rahmel Watkins Photo Credit: NCPD

A man and woman have been sentenced for their roles in the fatal car crash that killed a newly engaged couple on Long Island.

Brooklyn resident Rahmel Watkins, 36, was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison after being found guilty of assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving in the deaths of 21-year-old Yisroel Levin and his 20-year-old fiancé Elisheva Kaplan on the Nassau Expressway in Lawrence last April.

Zakiyyah Steward, 25, also of Brooklyn, was sentenced to a term of three to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to 17 charges that included manslaughter, assault, reckless driving, aggravated vehicular homicide, and endangerment.

Watkins and Steward were in a group of cars driving nearly 100 mph at approximately 1:40 a.m. on April 4 last year on the Nassau Expressway - with at least two of the drivers, including Watkins, racing - when he crossed into the opposite lane and crashed into a Nissan Altima, driven by Kaplan and Levin.

The car burst into flames, and the two were trapped inside the car, where they died just months before they were planning to get married.

In total, nine people were involved in the crash. After crashing into Kaplan and Levin, Watkins also struck another vehicle, leaving him with a fractured spine and multiple injuries to his hand, ankles, and knee.

At the time of the crash, Steward was also driving recklessly, and admitted to being intoxicated and on marijuana. Her car also struck the Altima, prosecutors said.

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