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

Officials provide update on fatal Schoharie limo crash

Officials provide update on fatal Schoharie limo crash

Twenty dead after a stretch limo en route to a birthday party crashed in upstate New York; Bryan Llenas reports on what investigators are saying about the tragedy. There are seat belts in the back - they're required to be - but you're not required to wear them. "And additionally, some things may be taken off - things like airbags or seat belts".

"The entire family of NY mourns for the lives cut short in this crash".

New York State Police Cpt Richard O'Brien said on Sunday that the investigation was still in its "infancy stages", adding that "several" separate police units were involved, including a "facial identification unit" and a drone team.

Mr Cuomo said the limousine had been rebuilt in a way which violated federal law, adding that the vehicle hire firm, Prestige Limousine, "has a lot to answer for".

The Gansevoort, New York-based company said it pulled its cars from the road voluntarily.

From a basic physics standpoint, driving a stretch limousine is never as safe as a auto. Typically when SUVs are converted into limos, they are cut in half, stretched and converted.

On Monday morning, standing at the intersection where the crash happened, Karina Halse cried as she confirmed to ABC's "Good Morning America" that her sister, 26-year-old Amanda Halse, and her sister's husband, Patrick Cushing, were among those killed.

Once a vehicle has been modified by a coach builder, it is no longer the manufacturer's problem - government agencies treat it as an entirely different vehicle, hence the inspection process it must pass.

But it's still too early to blame any single factor for the 20 deaths in NY.

Officials with NTSB said this is the first full day that they've been able to investigate the crash.

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There are few federal regulations governing limos that have been modified after leaving the factory.

Another complicating factor is that USA transportation regulation is a patchwork between federal and state agencies - regulations can vary greatly between states. But luxury cars converted to limos, like the one in Saturday's crash, often lack such safety components as side-impact air bags, reinforced rollover protection bars and accessible emergency exits. That compares with over 157,000 crashes and over 171,000 deaths involving all types of vehicles during that period.

Caserta reported from NY. His stepson, Cicero Richards, told the Daily News that Lisinicchia had been hesitant to go out on the job on Saturday because of Prestige vehicles' junky nature. If we know how unsafe these vehicles are, how do they keep passing inspections then?

The crash occurred near the town of Schoharie in NY state on Saturday afternoon. But safety issues on such vehicles have arisen before, notably after a wreck on Long Island in July 2015 in which four women were killed.

It appears the task force was never formed, and almost three years after the grand jury's recommendation, it was unclear what, if anything, Cuomo's administration did in response.

"I wish I had the words.", began the mayor before quoting writer Debbie McDaniel: "Sometimes, in this insane, mixed up world, when our hearts are grieving and we've suffered devastating blows, when loss feels too deep, and the battle seems fierce, the most comforting words of all are just these two, "Jesus wept", from John 11:35".

It is still not clear whether the limousine crash was the fault of the driver or a malfunction of the vehicle, Cuomo said, but that the National Transportation Safety Board and state police were investigating.

One victim's relative said the hired limo was a replacement for "some kind of bus" that was supposed to take the group on a tour of wineries and breweries for Amy's 30th birthday party.

Shortly after the white stretch limousine arrived, McGowan texted Abeling's daughter to say the vehicle appeared to be in bad condition. "We do need to learn from this", Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told CNN. The book by journalist Trevor Aaronson reported that Hussain used the money he earned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to buy the Crest Inn Suites & Cottages in Gansevoort.

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