NORTH LAWRENCE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Joint funerals were held Thursday for a couple killed in a crash just days after they announced their engagement.
Meanwhile, two suspects, accused of driving drunk, were arraigned.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, one casket was carried out, followed by another in Far Rockaway, Queens. Thousands of mourners trailed in somber, slow steps.
Yisroel Levin, 21, of Brooklyn, and Elisheva Basya Kaplan, 20, of Far Rockaway, got engaged last week and were set to be married over the summer.
“Both wonderful, unbelievable people. Extraordinary, both families,” one mourner said.
“They had joy for life,” Efrem Bernstein said.
Their deaths came early Wednesday morning in a five-car pileup on the Nassau Expressway in North Lawrence. Five other people were seriously hurt in the crash.
Police said 25-year-old Zakiyyah Steward is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and alcohol and unlawful possession of marijuana. Police said 35-year-old Rahmel Watkins is also charged with DWI.
Levin’s teacher, Efrem Bernstein, called them “the perfect couple.”
“You see a picture of them recently by their engagement party, the smiles on their face wasn’t just the smiles they had for their engagement. The boy, I knew him in high school, he always had.”
The couple was denied what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of their lives – a wedding. Now, their community struggles with that reality.
“Obviously it was destined for them to be together, and God wanted their souls to be, at this point, at this stage, together,” said one mourner.
The caskets were carried together for one block, then brought to different locations. Levin was buried in Elmont, Long Island; Kaplan’s remains were readied for transport to Israel.
Their relatives say after the wedding, the couple planned to move to Israel and live there for two years.