Off-duty NYPD officer killed while preparing for wedding as driver crashes into salon

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By stefan armitage

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A devastating crash at a Long Island nail salon has claimed the lives of four individuals, including an off-duty New York City Police Officer.

Emilia Rennhack - who was recently married - has been named as one of the four individuals tragically killed when a suspected drunken driver plowed his SUV into the storefront.

As reported by the New York Post, the incident unfolded on Friday afternoon at Hawaii Nail & Spa in Deer Park, Suffolk County, when Steven Schwally - allegedly intoxicated - drove his 2020 Chevy Traverse through the salon's front window.

The crash resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries, leaving a scene of chaos and devastation.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 13.26.10.jpgPolice Officer Emilia Rennhack was killed in the crash. Credit: NYC Police Benevolent Association

Officer Emilia Rennhack, 30 years old and off-duty at the time, had stopped at the salon to prepare for a wedding later that day. She and others were caught in the path of Schwally's vehicle, which also injured a 12-year-old girl.

NBC News reports that the other three victims killed in the crash have been named by the Suffolk County Police Department as Jiancai Chen, 37, of Bayside, Queens; Yan Xu, 41, of Flushing, Queens; and Meizi Zhang, 50, of Flushing, Queens.

Rennhack, a dedicated member of the NYPD for six years stationed at the 102nd Precinct in Queens, was described as beloved by her colleagues and family.

Recently married to fellow NYPD Detective Carl Rennhack, whom she met on the job, she was remembered fondly by her mother-in-law, Holy Rennhack.

“My daughter-in-law was a wonderful woman,” Holy Rennhack told The Post. “She was beautiful. She was very kind. She was very compassionate. She was very special.”


The tragedy has reverberated through the law enforcement community and beyond. The Police Benevolent Association and the Det. Simonsen Foundation, formed after the shooting of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen, expressed their condolences and grief over Rennhack’s untimely death.

"The Simonsen Foundation is beyond devastated to learn about the tragic passing of Emilia Rennhack,” a social media post from the foundation reads. "You could always see them at our events and they always honored Brian.

"We will miss Emilia and we will NEVER forget her. To Carl, we love you beyond measure and we are her for you forever."

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 13.36.41.jpgCredit: NYPD

Schwally, the driver responsible for the crash, remains hospitalized following the incident. He faces charges related to driving while intoxicated, with authorities indicating that additional charges are likely to follow as the investigation progresses.

According to Suffolk County Police, Schwally had a prior history of driving under the influence, having pleaded guilty to DUI charges in 2014. His actions on Friday evening have left a trail of devastation and heartbreak, prompting emotional responses from those who knew him and witnesses who saw the events unfold.

David Caburis, who knew Schwally from earlier years, expressed shock over the incident, describing Schwally as a normal person without prior indications of such reckless behavior.

“I never knew him to drink and drive,” Caburis stated.

Schwally's brother, Edward, told The Post: "It’s like my worst nightmare come true [...] I feel terrible about innocent people getting hurt."

Witnesses described Schwally’s erratic behavior moments before the crash, including alleged aggressive driving and confrontations in the parking lot.

As the investigation into the crash continues and the community mourns the lives lost, our thoughts go out to every person impacted by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: NYC Police Benevolent Association

Off-duty NYPD officer killed while preparing for wedding as driver crashes into salon

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

A devastating crash at a Long Island nail salon has claimed the lives of four individuals, including an off-duty New York City Police Officer.

Emilia Rennhack - who was recently married - has been named as one of the four individuals tragically killed when a suspected drunken driver plowed his SUV into the storefront.

As reported by the New York Post, the incident unfolded on Friday afternoon at Hawaii Nail & Spa in Deer Park, Suffolk County, when Steven Schwally - allegedly intoxicated - drove his 2020 Chevy Traverse through the salon's front window.

The crash resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries, leaving a scene of chaos and devastation.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 13.26.10.jpgPolice Officer Emilia Rennhack was killed in the crash. Credit: NYC Police Benevolent Association

Officer Emilia Rennhack, 30 years old and off-duty at the time, had stopped at the salon to prepare for a wedding later that day. She and others were caught in the path of Schwally's vehicle, which also injured a 12-year-old girl.

NBC News reports that the other three victims killed in the crash have been named by the Suffolk County Police Department as Jiancai Chen, 37, of Bayside, Queens; Yan Xu, 41, of Flushing, Queens; and Meizi Zhang, 50, of Flushing, Queens.

Rennhack, a dedicated member of the NYPD for six years stationed at the 102nd Precinct in Queens, was described as beloved by her colleagues and family.

Recently married to fellow NYPD Detective Carl Rennhack, whom she met on the job, she was remembered fondly by her mother-in-law, Holy Rennhack.

“My daughter-in-law was a wonderful woman,” Holy Rennhack told The Post. “She was beautiful. She was very kind. She was very compassionate. She was very special.”


The tragedy has reverberated through the law enforcement community and beyond. The Police Benevolent Association and the Det. Simonsen Foundation, formed after the shooting of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen, expressed their condolences and grief over Rennhack’s untimely death.

"The Simonsen Foundation is beyond devastated to learn about the tragic passing of Emilia Rennhack,” a social media post from the foundation reads. "You could always see them at our events and they always honored Brian.

"We will miss Emilia and we will NEVER forget her. To Carl, we love you beyond measure and we are her for you forever."

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 13.36.41.jpgCredit: NYPD

Schwally, the driver responsible for the crash, remains hospitalized following the incident. He faces charges related to driving while intoxicated, with authorities indicating that additional charges are likely to follow as the investigation progresses.

According to Suffolk County Police, Schwally had a prior history of driving under the influence, having pleaded guilty to DUI charges in 2014. His actions on Friday evening have left a trail of devastation and heartbreak, prompting emotional responses from those who knew him and witnesses who saw the events unfold.

David Caburis, who knew Schwally from earlier years, expressed shock over the incident, describing Schwally as a normal person without prior indications of such reckless behavior.

“I never knew him to drink and drive,” Caburis stated.

Schwally's brother, Edward, told The Post: "It’s like my worst nightmare come true [...] I feel terrible about innocent people getting hurt."

Witnesses described Schwally’s erratic behavior moments before the crash, including alleged aggressive driving and confrontations in the parking lot.

As the investigation into the crash continues and the community mourns the lives lost, our thoughts go out to every person impacted by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: NYC Police Benevolent Association