Home News Emilia Rennhack, NYPD cop killed in drunk driving crash at L.I. nail...

Emilia Rennhack, NYPD cop killed in drunk driving crash at L.I. nail salon, remembered at funeral as ‘angel for so many’


Emilia Rennhack, the NYPD cop killed when a drunk driver slammed into a Long Island nail salon was remembered Saturday as a positive public servant who was an “angel for so many” as scores of mourners bid final farewells at her funeral.

Rennhack had only been with the NYPD for six short years but left an outstanding impression on everyone she knew, especially her husband Carl, who told those at the service at the New Hyde Park Funeral Home about how he wanted to marry Emilia right after their first date.

Emilia Rennhack, killed in wild drunk driving crash at Long Island nail salon, was'angel for so many'

Rebecca White for New York Daily News

Det. Carl Rennhack is present with the flag that covered his wife’s Emilia casket. (Rebecca White for NY Daily News)

“After that date, I knew I had to see her again, and soon,” he said, his voice cracking as he held back tears. “She was always so happy. Her laugh and smile were contagious.”

The two had only been together for four years, but they had a bond that made most couples envious. They also did something many long-established couples always dream of doing, but never accomplish.

“We began our travels all around the world,” he said. “We had so many plans. She was the angel to so many. Instead of being sad … I am happy and blessed we were able to do so much in the time we had together.”

Rennhack, 30, was off-duty and getting her nails done inside the Hawaii Nail & Spa in Deer Park, L.I. on June 28 when Steven Schwally, 64, blasted through the spa’s front windows with his 2020 Chevy Traverse minivan, according to police.

Emilia Rennhack, killed in wild drunk driving crash at Long Island nail salon, was'angel for so many'

Obtained by Daily News

Rennhack  was assigned to the 102 Precinct in Queens and married Det. Carl Rennhack (r.)

She died in the carnage, as did two other women, Yan Xu, 41, and Meizi Zhang, 50, both from Flushing, Queens, and a man, Jiancai Chen, 37, of Bayside, Queens.

Rennhack joined the NYPD in 2018 and married Det. Carl Rennhack last September. The two met as they were both assigned to the 102nd Precinct in Queens.

The couple lived in Deer Park, not far from where she died. She was one of three siblings, grew up on a farm in Poland and came to the U.S. to make a better life, relatives said.

Rennhack’s younger brother reminisced about shared childhood memories in Poland, noting his sister’s love for nature and their farm animals.

“You taught me how to ride a bike where I fell over and over and over again for three hours straight. During the summer, we used to sit on our doorstep and eat sunflower seeds straight from the sunflower,” Karol Kowalczyk said Saturday. “During the winter we used to fill bags of hay and snow-sled off a hill right next to our house. I remember back in Poland, you got picked on because you were ginger, but that separated you from the crowd. You knew you were different and you proved yourself to be different.”

Kowalczyk said Rennhack was not only bright, excelling both in school and as a cop, but she was also the rock of their family.

“Your death will not go in vain. You were the most loving sister I could have asked for,” Kowalczyk said.

“She was wonderful,” Holly Rennhack, Emelia’s mother-in-law told the Daily News shortly after her death. “I couldn’t say anything but what a wonderful, truly kind, caring [person she was]. She joined the police force to help people.”

Mourners coming into the funeral home on Saturday were greeted with photos of Emilia smiling with family and friends. On a fireplace mantle sat framed wedding photographs of Emelia and her husband Carl — happy memories from less than a year ago forever immortalized in portraits.

A sea of blue uniforms stood outside the funeral home as her casket was brought to an awaiting hearse to a sad dirge by a pipe and drum band.

“She was just a friendly person who was liked by everyone who met her,” Patrick Hendrey, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said. “Our police officers …are hurting. But we’re going to continue to remember her on into the future.”

Mayor Adams said Emelia “made our city a better city.”

Emilia Riennhack, killed in wild drunk driving crash at Long Island nail salon, was'angel for so many'

Rebecca White for New York Daily News

NYPD Honor Guard Officers carry the casket with fellow officer Emilia Rennhack after funeral services, killed by a drunk driver inside a nail salon in Long Island. (Rebecca White for NY Daily News)

 

“You lost your daughter but she’s part of a larger family of the NYPD,” Adams said, addressing Rennhack’s parents. “It’s a great loss to us. There is no rationale that we can define for this loss.”

Schwally was charged with drunk driving and ordered held on $1 million bail. He admitted to police that he had 18 beers before getting behind the wheel.

Suffolk County prosecutors said they intended to seek homicide charges before a grand jury.

Hendry hopes that Schwally is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Emilia Riennhack, killed in wild drunk driving crash at Long Island nail salon, was'angel for so many'

Rebecca White for New York Daily News

Det. Carl Rennhack walks away after being presented with the flag that covered his wife’s Emilia’s casket. (Rebecca White for NY Daily News)

“This individual who caused these events made horrible choices that shattered so many lives, turned so many families upside down,” Hendry said. “He should have never been behind the wheel of that car and he’s behind bars now and he needs to stay behind bars.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here