Driver drank 18 beers before fatal nail salon crash on Long Island, prosecutors say

The driver who authorities say plowed his SUV into a Long Island nail salon Friday, killing four people and injuring nine others, told police he had consumed 18 beers the night before the accident, according to CNN affiliate WABC.

Steven Schwally, 64, was intoxicated when he drove his SUV into Hawaii Nail & Spa. When police arrived on the scene of the accident, first responders described Schwally as smelling of alcohol with his eyes “bloodshot” and his speech “slurred and mumbled,” according to a court document.

Schwally, of nearby Dix Hills, was arraigned Monday at Suffolk County Court, where he pleaded not guilty to a DWI charge and was ordered held on $1 million cash or $2 million bond, according to online court records.

A prosecutor at the arraignment said Schwally had 18 beers and stopped drinking at 4 a.m. Friday, WABC reported.

The online court records show Schwally is represented by Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, which did not respond to requests for comment.

The scene of Friday's fatal accident at a Long Island nail salon. - WABC
The scene of Friday's fatal accident at a Long Island nail salon. - WABC

Among the four people killed at the nail salon were Jiancai Chen, 37, Yan Xu, 41, Meizi Zhang, 50, and Emilia Rennhack, 30, according to Suffolk County police.

Rennhack was an off-duty New York City Police Department police officer who was at the salon “getting her nails done for a colleague’s wedding that night,” according to law enforcement crowdsourcing website Fund the First, which was launched to raise money for her family.

Chen’s nephew Vincent Zheng told CNN his uncle was the manager at Hawaii Nail & Spa and was working that day with colleagues Xu and Zhang.

Chen leaves behind two children and his wife, who was also injured in the accident, according to a GoFundMe campaign launched by his nephew.

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