A limousine carrying four sisters, other relatives and friends to a birthday celebration blew through a stop sign and slammed into a parked SUV outside a store in upstate NY, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians, officials and victims' relatives said Sunday.
The crash about 170 miles north of New York City came three years after another deadly stretch-limo wreck in New York state spurred calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to examine such vehicles' safety.
USA media had earlier reported that the vehicle was on its way to a wedding, but an aunt of one of the victims has said it was in fact heading to a birthday party.
Police said they are still investigating the cause of the crash and did not comment on the speed of the limousine.
Kindlon also said the "safety issues" with the customized 2001 Ford Excursion "had been addressed and corrected".
In a press conference earlier today, he said "The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road".
They were headed to an upstate NY brewery, but never made it, officials said.
It's the worst transportation accident in the United States since a 2009 plane crash outside Buffalo, N.Y. The vehicle was supposed to be taking the group to Ommegang Brewery to celebrate the 30th birthday of a woman named Amy Steenburg.
Furthermore, limousines that are built by independent shops aren't crash tested and it's not uncommon for passengers not to use seat belts. Heartbreakingly, Steenburg's three sisters, husband, and brother-in-law also perished in the accident - the exact cause of which has not yet been determined.
"I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely hard time", Cuomo said. Sumwalt said the vehicle was configured for 19 seats; two up front, a rear-facing seat, a forward-facing seat in the back and seating on each side.
"They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn't be driving", Barbara Douglas, an aunt of the four sisters, told NBC News. It went across the road and hit an unoccupied auto parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store and two pedestrians.More news: Melania Trump Takes Her First Africa Solo Trip in Ghana
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Limos, according to the Times, are inherently unsafe vehicles: Regular cars or SUVs that get stretched to maximum capacity outside the manufacturer's eye, they are not subject to the same federal safety regulations as your average sedan.
"Everyone's lives were cut way too short, and I don't know what to say about it". A fourth sister, Allison King, was also among those killed.
A celebration of life turned into tragedy on a roadside in upstate NY.
All 20 people killed in the crash are being memorialized at a vigil Monday, including passengers Amanda Rivenburg, Rachael Cavosie, and Savannah Bursese.
Television networks broadcast at the roadside memorial scene of Saturday's fatal limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.
Erin, who worked in a pediatrician's office, and Shane, who worked for Miracle Ear, were married in June. Schoharie Town Supervisor Alan Tavenner said Sunday the New York Department of Transportation had in recent years outlawed heavy trucks on the hill because of instances where runaway trucks lost their ability to apply the brakes down the steep grade.
But a lawyer for the driver's family said the limo had problems.
They have been described by their family as the "Four Musketeers".