Limousine crash at popular tourist spot kills 20 in NY

A limousine involved in an accident that killed 20 people in NY state failed an inspection last month and the driver didn't have a chauffeur's license, New York's governor said Monday.

The governor said the limo failed a state safety inspection, which checks for things like suspension and brakes. The party had initially booked some sort of bus to transport them to the venue but were assigned the limousine after the original vehicle broke down.

Attorney Lee Kindlon tells CBS News on Tuesday he doesn't think the recent infractions against Prestige limousine service contributed to Saturday's deadly crash.

He added, "It's not supposed to be on the road". The limo driver also died along with two pedestrians.

Witnesses would later recall the limo blowing past a stop sign and plowing into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe at the bottom of the hill, police said.

State police say Shahed Hussain is in Pakistan.

On Monday New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, criticized Prestige for "putting a failed vehicle on the road".

Leader-Herald calls Monday to Prestige Limousine were unanswered.

Customers in the parking lot were killed when they were hit by the limo coming down a hill on state Route 30 at "probably over 60 miles per hour", the store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times.

"This is the most deadly transportation accident in the country since February of 2009".

The passengers of the limo - including four sisters, newlyweds and young couples - were all celebrating a birthday party, according to U.S. media. Officials, including Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., had pushed for better federal safety regulations for limousines after the crash, citing "significant gaps" in the safety standards for the vehicles - which are often modified using aftermarket parts and techniques.

"This may be a small city, but we are a huge city with a huge heart and just like the sign says, we are 'Amsterdam Strong.' Right now it's hard to bear what we have to bear, but we will get through it".

Steenburg died along with his brother, Axel.

'I love you more than words can say!'

In a Facebook post, the store said it would remain open through the weekend despite the "horrific accident in front of our business".

"They were wonderful girls", said their aunt, Barbara Douglas.

State police have confirmed 18 of the victims were inside the limousine, while the other two were pedestrians standing in the auto park of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe.

She said her own daughter had been invited along but couldn't go.

Those killed included two pairs of newlyweds, two brothers from one family, and four sisters from another, reported Reuters.

"We do need to learn from this", Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told CNN.

The accident happened in Schoharie, which is about 270km north of New York City, on Saturday afternoon local time. Five women out for a bachelorette party were killed in 2013 when their stretch limo caught fire in Northern California because of friction between the driveshaft and the rear floorboard.

Speaking through tears on the telephone, Valerie Abeling said her 34-year-old niece Erin Vertucci was among the victims, along with Vertucci's newlywed husband, 30-year-old Shane McGowan.

It is with heavy hearts that we are sad to announce the Star Spangled Family has lost one of our beloved Coaches, Mary. Police had reportedly been looking at both the company and the limo in question even before the crash.

"What they're here to do at this point is collect the perishable information the information that can go away with the passage of time", he said.

  • Joey Payne