Seventeen-year-old Eric Goldberg, a senior at Ardsley High School, and 57-year-old Jordan Wachtell, father of Preston Wachtell, Goldberg’s classmate, were killed in a car crash on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 30.
Wachtell was driving eastbound on I-287, taking his son, Goldberg and Jack Rosen, another classmate, to play in a Westchester Jewish League basketball game at the Jewish Community Center in Harrison,when a wrong-way driver in a Jeep hit Wachtell’s BMW near the White Plains-Harrison border. Jordan Wachtell died at the scene; Goldberg died in an ambulance on the way to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
Preston Wachtell suffered a broken arm. Rosen was also injured. The driver of the Jeep, 50-year-old Jaime Paucar of Amawalk,sustained a broken leg and shoulder injuries and remained at Westchester Medical Center as of Feb. 5. No charges had been filed against him as the state police awaited results of a toxicology test.
Hundreds of mourners gathered for Goldberg’s funeral at the Weinstein Memorial Chapel in Yonkers on Sunday, Feb. 2. On Feb. 3, Shaarei Tikvah synagogue in Scarsdale was similarly inundated for Jordan Wachtell’s funeral. During both services, public address systems allowed attendees forced to stand outside to hear the eulogies.
“One of a kind” and “larger than life” were the descriptions of Wachtell heard most often at his funeral. For two hours, friends and family told the crowd about Wachtell, drawing tears and laughter. Wachtell’s mother, Francine, his son, Preston, and daughter, Skylar, 13, spoke; a family friend read aloud what Wachtell’s wife, Mary Hartline, had written.
A lifelong friend of Wachtell reeled off a list of Wachtell’s accomplishments, from earning a business degree from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, to acquiring and successfully running businesses about which he knew nothing: nightclubs, dry cleaning and printing.
Wachtell, who shared a Batman obsession with his son, also became a part-time moviemaker. In 2007, he produced “The Amazing Adventures of Little Batman,” a 25-minute movie starring Preston, then 5, as the superhero, and pulled off a gala premiere at Manhattan’s Tribeca Cinemas.
Wachtell followed that act in 2008 with “Little Indiana Jones and The Secret of the Magic Scrolls,” starring Preston, then a first-grader at Concord Road Elementary. That movie also can be viewed on YouTube.
Schools Superintendent Ryan Schoenfeld has no doubt that Ardsley, especially the high school, will find ways to honor Goldberg and Wachtell. For now, the school’s illuminated marquee says, “With heavy hearts, we send our love and support to our community.”