20 people killed in limousine crash in NY state, police say

Geraldine Edwards
October 9, 2018

At least 20 people were killed after two vehicles collided at the intersection of State Route 30 and 30A in Schoharie near Albany here on Saturday, according to local police.

State police released details at a Sunday afternoon press conference of the horrific crash involving a runaway SUV-style stretch limousine that killed 20 people outside a popular tourist stop for fall foliage season in upstate NY.

Relatives said the limousine was carrying four sisters and their friends to a birthday celebration for the youngest sibling.

It was the deadliest transport crash since February 2009 when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people.

The limousine that crashed in upstate New York on Saturday, killing 20, failed inspection last month and its driver was not properly licensed, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

A National Transportation Safety Board team arrived Sunday to investigate.

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"I don't know what to tell you, they were the best nieces that anybody could have", she said. Store manager Jessica Kirby told the New York Times, "That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60 miles per hour". The store posted Sunday that it was open "and could use your hugs".

She said some of the couples had children, who they had left at home.

New York State Police said autopsies, including toxicology tests, were under way on all the passengers and the driver of the limousine.

Eighteen of the victims were passengers in the limousine while the other two were bystanders, sources close to the police investigation told the Associated Press.

Authorities continue to investigate the crash site today and have yet to announce any factors that may have contributing to the crash.

But for reasons still unknown, the limo plowed through a stop sign, crashed into a parked SUV and caused the deadliest USA transportation accident in nearly a decade.

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The collision is said to be the deadliest transport accident in the United States since 2009. Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said it was the biggest USA transportation accident since 2009.

Barbara Douglas, the aunt of four sisters who died in the crash, said the victims were smart, attractive and lived life to the fullest.

Its path leads through the grass beside Apple Barrel Café, through the tall brush that now lies flat and plummeting into a shallow ditch where a large tree trunk is split in half.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, the Apple Barrel Country Store thanked emergency responders for their actions following the "horrific" accident and began a fundraiser for local volunteer emergency units.

In 2014, the latest year with available figures, crashes on the state's highways resulted in $808.1 million in hospitalization and emergency department charges, the Department of Health said on its website.

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