The energetic Midwood yeshiva teacher killed in a booze-fueled crash on Ocean Avenue was a gifted instructor, mentor and breakdancer, dozens of friends, family members and students remembered last week during a heart-wrenching funeral at the school where he molded young minds.
Moshe Berkowitz, 25, was killed following a Nov. 29 car accident near Avenue N. Horrified witnesses told police that Berkowitz, a resident of Avenue O, was driving a 2001 Mercury northbound along Ocean Avenue when a 2006 Volkswagen driven by 23-year-old Anel Kolenovic slammed into it.
Paramedics rushed Berkowitz to Maimonides Medical Center where he died of his injuries.
Responding officers found Kolenovic, a resident of Port Jervis, to be drunk behind the wheel and charged him with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless driving.
Kolenovic was allegedly speeding and blew a steady red light just before the accident, said police, who are investigating if Kolenovic was drag racing before the crash.
When he was taken into custody, Kolenovic’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit, according to sources.
He was released after posting $200,000 bail on Dec. 1 — the same day Berkowitz was mourned at the place he considered his second home: Yeshiva Ohr Yitzchok on E. 15th Street between Avenue L and Locust Avenue, where he taught English.
During the funeral service, loved ones remembered how Berkowitz, known to everyone as “Moe,” enjoyed playing football and would often perform a breakdancing routine at school functions.
“He was the nicest, greatest person I’ve ever known,” Joseph Minzer, 13, said at the funeral. “He was always trying to help me with my problems and with things I didn’t understand.”
“Moshe was a gem of a human being who served as a real role model for the community,” added Rabbi Aaron Groner of Yeshiva Ohr Yitzchok. “He was beloved by all the young people as well as the adults.”
A spokesman for Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said that the case against Kolenovic was in the hands of the grand jury.
Attempts to reach Kate McGauley, Kolenovic’s attorney, were unsuccessful by late Monday.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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