Limo Involved In Fatal Crash Failed Inspection last Month
The limousine that crashed in upstate New York, killing 20 people, failed an inspection last month and its driver was not properly licensed, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said.
Saturday's accident, which killed two pairs of newlyweds, four sisters from one family and two brothers from another, was the deadliest US transport crash in nearly a decade, according to federal authorities.
The company that owned the 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo was being sent a cease and desist order to halt operations until the crash is investigated, Cuomo said at New York City's Columbus Day Parade on Monday.
Before the limousine crashed, on the way to a birthday party, one of the victims, Erin McGowan, texted a friend that the limousine was in bad condition and appeared to have motor trouble, the New York Times reported.
Ms McGowan wrote, "The motor is making everyone deaf," the Times said.
What we know about the deadly New York limo crash, according to NY state police:— CNN (@CNN) October 7, 2018
• 20 people were killed, including two pedestrians
• 18 of the victims were in the limousine, including the driver
• All victims were adults https://t.co/0Dle0i7dJx pic.twitter.com/777PR8iQ8K
McGowan's aunt Valerie Abeling told CNN her niece had texted her friend saying that the company had sent the stretch limousine to replace a vehicle that had broken down.
Robert Sumwalt, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said the accident should be "a wake-up call" for limousine safety.
"Here we have 20 lives that have been lost tragically. We do need to learn from this," Sumwalt said on Monday.
The NTSB, a federal agency, is investigating the crash and will look at the adequacy of regulations for limousines, whose passengers are not required to wear seat belts.
"I can tell you that wearing seat belts does save lives. Whether or not it would have made a difference here ... remains to be seen," Sumwalt said.
Sumwalt said most of the victims were found inside the vehicle following the crash and one or two victims may have been ejected. Investigators also plan to look into whether the design of the roadway was a factor in the crash.
Officials had not released the victims' names as of early Monday, but some of the names and details were disclosed in media accounts from relatives and Go Fund Me pages.
Erin and Shane McGowan were just starting a life together after five months of marriage, the Times Union of Rochester, New York reported.
The McGowans were a part of a party of 17 young adults who climbed into the limo to celebrate their friend Amy Steenburg's 30th birthday, the paper and other media reported.
They were headed to an upstate New York brewery, officials said, when the vehicle ran a stop sign at a highway intersection in Schoharie, New York, about 65 km west of Albany, police and the NTSB said.
It crashed into an unoccupied parked car and hit two pedestrians before coming to a rest in a shallow ravine, officials said. The driver, all 17 passengers and the two pedestrians died.
20 people were killed in a limo crash in New York state, making it one of the deadliest transportation accidents in nearly a decade pic.twitter.com/KjbyxSnox3— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 8, 2018
Sumwalt at news conference on Sunday said investigators would determine the cause of the crash at a later time.
Amy Steenburg was also a newlywed. She and her three sisters - Mary Dyson, Allison King and Abby Jackson - and her husband, Axel Steenburg, and his brother, Rich Steenburg, all died, relatives told the New York Times.
"I don't know how you say it. You can't wrap you head around such a tragedy where you have four of your daughters die," Barbara Douglas, the aunt of the sisters, told reporters at the scene.
NBC news reported that Mary Dyson's husband, Rob Dyson, also died.
It was the deadliest transportation accident in the United States since a 2009 plane crash in Buffalo, New York, that killed 49 people, Sumwalt told a news conference on Sunday.