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Fiery five-car crash killed newly engaged couple near JFK Airport

Fiery five-car crash killed newly engaged couple near JFK Airport

A man and a woman who were killed inside their burning sedan during a fiery five-car collision near Kennedy Airport were a young couple who had recently gotten engaged, according to police and a local report published Thursday.

Yisroel Levin, 21, the son of a Brooklyn rabbi, and his fiancé, Elisheva Basya Kaplan, 20, of Queens, were killed on the Nassau Expressway in Lawrence on the Queens-Long Island border about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, a spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department said.

Heavy fog that blanketed the area might have contributed to the deadly chain reaction crash, which ignited Levin and Basya’s car. The couple was trapped inside, according to, a local website for Jewish news.

The two victims got engaged just a week ago, and planned to get married in three months, according to The Yeshiva World.

They were both honored and buried in traditional Jewish ceremonies Thursday.

Cops arrested two drivers — both from Brooklyn — who were allegedly intoxicated. Nassau detectives were investigating if they were responsible for the fatal accident, officials said.

Zakiyyah Steward, a 25-year-old woman from Bed-Stuy, was behind the wheel of a Hyundai Genesis and had six joints in her pocket when she was cuffed, police said.

When asked if she did any drugs, she responded, “I smoked all day,” according to the police report. Steward was charged with DWI and unlawful possession of other marijuana, and other charges. Her brother was riding with her during the accident.

The other driver, Rahmel Watkins, 35, was charged with DWI. His girlfriend, who is Steward’s sister, was his passenger, cops said.

There were nine people in the five cars. Medics took five victims to area hospitals. Their conditions were not immediately disclosed.


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