Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

N.Y. Limo Crash Is Deadliest US Transportation Incident Since 2009

N.Y. Limo Crash Is Deadliest US Transportation Incident Since 2009

The NTSB in 2015 called on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to adopt new regulations requiring at least two exits on such limos.

But media reports and interviews detailed the devastation.

All 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians were killed in the accident in Schoharie, New York.

"It's tragic. terrible. I can't even begin to even explain", Valerie Abeling told The Washington Post, confirming that her 34-year-old niece, Erin McGowan, and her new husband, Shane McGowan, 30, were among the dead.

"These were young couples, just got married and had their whole lives ahead of them".

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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.

Police said the 2001 Ford Excursion failed to stop at an intersection and continued into a parking lot, ultimately crashing into a parked vehicle.

The limousine then carried on before ending up in a field.

Saturday's tragedy unfolded outside the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe in Schoharie, a three-hour drive north of Manhattan.

She told the New York Times: "That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60mph".

Autopsies were being performed on the dead but authorities didn't say whether the limo occupants were wearing seat belts, nor did they give any indication as to the speed of the auto.

The crash "sounded like an explosion", said Linda Riley, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters and had been in their parked auto at the time at the store.

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"The entire GF community is extremely saddened by this incident and we are working closely with the families to provide comprehensive support", Laura Kelly, the company's vice president of global communications, said in a statement.

Douglas said three of the sisters were with their husbands, and she identified them as Amy and Axel Steenburg, Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson and Allison King.

"Erin and Shane honestly are both just the life of the room, very up people positive outgoing very involved and very caring about what was going on in other people lives", Erin's cousin, Tyler DeLuca, told WSTM-TV.

Among the dead are four sisters, three of whom were with their husbands, according to the siblings' aunt, Barbara Douglas. "They'd do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family".

The crash "sounded like an explosion", said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters.

Authorities have not released all of the victims' names, but the close-knit group included newlyweds, artists, athletes and young parents.

Authorities said autopsies were being performed and didn't release names of victims or speculate on what caused the limo to run the stop sign.

He added the investigation is focused to find "not only what happened, but why it happened so we can keep things like this from happening in the future".

Officials are investigating the crash, which occurred near the town of Schoharie in NY state on Saturday afternoon. Lengthening the vehicles and adding new seating configurations can undercut the federally mandated safety features designed by the original manufacturer, according to crash-worthiness experts. In limousines, rear passengers are not required to wear seat belts, Goelz said.

After the Long Island crash, Sen.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said among the things investigators will be looking into are the company, the driver, state and federal oversight, and the vehicle and its condition.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the first responders who "worked through the night to help".

It is unclear whether mechanical failure or driver error exactly led to Saturday's tragic crash.

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