Home » Suspected cop killer drank 18 beers before nail salon crash killed 4, wounded 9: prosecutors

Suspected cop killer drank 18 beers before nail salon crash killed 4, wounded 9: prosecutors

by John Jefferson
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The 64-year-old New York man accused of drunkenly slamming his Chevy SUV into a nail salon, killing four people and wounding nine more, drank 18 beers the morning before the crash, prosecutors said at his arraignment Monday, according to local reports.

Officers arrived at the Hawaii Nail Salon and Spa in Deer Park to find Steven Schwally, of Dix Hills, with “bloodshot and glassy eyes,” slurring his speech and mumbling, Suffolk County police alleged.

Schwally allegedly had “constricted pupils,” and the responding officer wrote that his breath reeked of booze. 


Witnesses told police they heard a “violent explosion,” Newsday reported, citing Assistant District Attorney Alexander Bopp.

“It looked like a bomb had gone off,” Bopp said in court. “Bodies were everywhere. Several individuals, including two of the deceased, had to be removed from under [Schwally’s] vehicle.”

Authorities identified three people killed as Jiancai Chen, 37, the business owner, and two employees: Yan Xu, 41, and Meizi Zhang, 50. Nine others were hospitalized, including a 12-year-old girl. 


A split of Emilia Rennhack in her police uniform and the crash scene

The fourth victim who died of her injuries was Emilia Rennhack, a 30-year-old NYPD officer who was getting her nails done for a colleague’s upcoming wedding.

Rennhack’s husband, a detective in the NYPD, was seen shedding tears during Schwally’s arraignment Monday, the New York Post reported.

Carl Rennhack, husband of Emilia Rennhack, leaves court after attending arraignment for defendant Steven Schwally

Video from the scene shows dozens of police and first responder vehicles. Authorities taped off a large swath of the shopping center as they dug through the rubble and rushed victims to several local hospitals. 

“It sounded like glass shattering, but not a car accident, you hear metal-to-metal,” one witness, Eric Perez, told Fox News Digital. “It’s something I never heard before.”

Prosecutors said the vehicle had gone airborne before impact. Police said earlier the vehicle did not come to a stop until it reached the far side of the building.

Carl and Emilia Rennhack wearing NYPD T-shirts

The suspect consented to a blood-alcohol test but not until nearly five hours after the crash, according to court documents. The results were pending.

Schwally, who arrived in court in a wheelchair and wearing a hospital gown, pleaded not guilty Monday to first-offense driving while intoxicated, court records show.

He was being held on $1 million cash bail, $2 million insured bond or $5 million uninsured bond.


Although he has a listed address in Dix Hills, Schwally’s attorney said in court that he is unemployed and was most recently living out of a hotel.

He is due back in court Friday.

He will likely face additional, more serious charges.

Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

Read the full article here

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