Drone video shows deadly limo crash site in upstate NY

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2018

The startling revelations brought more anguish to those grieving the deaths of 20 people in the quaint town of Schoharie.

Before the disaster, the 17 birthday party guests in the limo - including newlyweds, young couples and four sisters - were headed to an upstate NY brewery.

The group included four sisters and two brothers.

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. His 17 passengers - including a newlywed couple - were killed in the crash. So was the limo's driver. "What this crash brings home is that there is a gap in oversight when it comes to limousine operations".

The birthday party guests were riding in a 2001 Ford Expedition that had been converted into a limousine.

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. That grand jury called on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to assemble a task force on limousine safety.

Prestige Limousine, of nearby Saratoga Springs, has taken its fleet off the road.

Along with Troop G uniform and BCI members, the Troop G Collision Reconstruction Unit and Forensic Investigation Unit and the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Medical Services the following agencies responded to the scene: Schoharie Fire Department, Central Bridge Fire Department, Esperance Fire Department, Schoharie County Fire Coordinators, Schoharie County Haz-Mat Team, Scho-Wright Ambulance, Central Bridge Ambulance, Esperance Ambulance, Middleburgh Ambulance, Duanesburgh Ambulance, Richmondville Ambulance, AMR Ambulance, Schoharie County Medic Lifenet, American Red Cross, DEC Spill Response Unit, Schoharie County Sheriff's Department, New York State Police, New York State Department of Transportation Mutual Aid, Burtonsville Fire Department for stand in at Esperance Fire Station, Delanson Fire Department for stand in at Esperance Fire Station. "The horrific event that claimed the lives of 20 people on Saturday has left us with pain that feels unbearable and unending". In a press conference earlier today, he said "The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road".

The driver was also killed in the crash, they said, adding that the victims would not be officially named until families had been informed. "And additionally, some things may be taken off - things like airbags or seat belts". She said her own daughter had been invited along but couldn't go. Sumwalt said there was extensive damage to the front of the limo, mostly on the driver's side. The limo was equipped with some in the back, but it's not known whether there were enough for everyone.

"Due to the severity of the crash the process is taking some time", Patnaude said.


Almost every state requires front seat passengers to wear a seat belt, but 22 states do not have a similar law for those in the back, reports correspondent Kris Van Cleave.

"We wish to express our deepest, heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the victims".

Those who died were identified as Shane and Erin McGowan, Amy and Azel Steenburg, Rich Steenburg, Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson, Allison King and Patrick Cushing.

Numerous victims were from the upstate city of Amsterdam, about 20 miles north of the crash site. A manager of the store said the limo was coming down the hill at "probably" 60 miles per hour, the New York Times reported.

"It's tragic. awful. 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. "We do need to learn from this".

"They were two very young, lovely people", said Abeling.

"My heart is completely sunken", Karina said.

"It's tragic. awful. I can't even begin to even explain". In an interview with ABC News, Barbara Douglas appeared stunned as she confirmed four of her nieces were among those killed. "They'd do anything for you, and they were very close to each other".

Douglas said three of the sisters were with their husbands.

He posed as a terrorist sympathizer in at least three investigations.


Many have speculated that the limo was modified in way to make it "stretch", which could also have caused it to lose some safety features.

The crash happened outside an Apple Barrel Country Store & Cafe.

"I heard this loud bang, I saw a lot of people here at the Apple Barrel [store and cafe] out in the parking lot".

"I know that they have become angels in our eyes and in Jesus's eyes, and I'm just really hurt and saddened, and I just really appreciate my family", Shannon Hoogkamp, of Amsterdam, told Albany ABC affiliate WTEN. "Jax (Jacksonville) is a huge city, a lot of people on the road".

Deborah Hersman, who runs the National Safety Council and is a former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, said, "All of the occupants being belted, means it's safer for everyone".

"As long as they get money, they don't care who's getting In their vehicles", the resident, Laken Prosser, 31, said. Well, even after that crash, the state of NY didn't do a whole lot. Sen.

NY authorities would not comment on whether any of the passengers killed in Saturday's accident were wearing seat belts.

The crash was so catastrophic, it stunned even veteran safety experts.

Another complicating factor is that US transportation regulation is a patchwork between federal and state agencies - regulations can vary greatly between states.


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