By Sarina Trangle
With dozens huddled around her, the mother of a Laurelton man mowed down by a suspected peer last weekend urged those clutching votive candles to cooperate with police.
She implored those clustered at a vigil Monday near her son’s home to help prosecutors explain why a man embroiled in a brawl at a Merrick Boulevard banquet hall Saturday evening then climbed in his car, jumped the curb and struck her son and two others.
“The car was stuck on his body. You know how hard it is to see that visual over and over again?” said the woman, who declined to identify herself to the press. “What if one of ya’ll was standing here?”
She and other relatives said they believed attorneys for Kevin Weekes, a Laurelton man arrested and charged in her son’s death, may contend he unintentionally swerved onto the sidewalk because of a stab wound.
“You guys are his friends, and he needs you now in his death,” an aunt said.
Prosecutors said fighting erupted at a baby shower held at Visions of New York Banquet Hall, at 224-22 Merrick Blvd., shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday. Weekes allegedly left the fray, climbed into his 2012 Nissan Altima, cut a U-turn and accelerated over the curbtoward Lewis and two women on the sidewalk, police and prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Lewis was pinned under the car and dragged until the car halted at 225th Street and Merrick Boulevard. He was declared dead at the scene.
The women were rushed to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition — a 19-year-old from Rosedale with back and neck injuries, and a 21-year-old from Brooklyn with head and leg injuries, police said.
Weekes ran from the intersection and was later cuffed by police and charged with second-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an incident where a death occurred, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
As of Wednesday, the DA’s office said Weekes’ arraignment was pending because he remained in the hospital following what police described as a stabbing to his stomach.
Weekes’ attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
If convicted, Weekes faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
The vigil, held near 219th Place and 137th Avenue, drew more than 50 mourners. The crowd grew gradually as the ceremony opened with prayers. As the light from candle flames flickered, a few recalled Lewis quick to smile and exchange greetings with neighbors.
Lewis’ mother said she worked with adolescents and understood why some youth were hesitant to talk to police. But in the spirit of her son, she urged them to remain optimistic about their prospects and pursue an education.
With his voice cracking, a man concluded the vigil, saying, “I want all of you to finish the job he started. Do something with yourselves.”
Several responded by raising candles.
They then left the blazing candles illuminating posters with images of Lewis.