Auto

20 killed when limo on way to birthday party blows stop sign

Monday, October 08, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


NEW YORK, United States (AP) — A limousine on its way to a birthday party blew a stop sign at the end of a highway, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians in the deadliest US transportation accident in almost a decade, officials and a relative of one of the victims said yesterday.

The collision turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon into chaos at an upstate New York spot popular with tourists taking in the fall foliage. An aunt of one of the victims in the vehicle said the group had been travelling to a birthday celebration.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was travelling south-west on Route 30 in Schoharie, about 270 kilometres north of New York City around 2:00 pm when it failed to stop at a T-junction with state Route 30A, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore said at a news conference in Latham, New York.

It went across the road and hit an unoccupied SUV parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing the driver and 17 passengers, as well as two people outside the vehicle.

The crash “sounded like an explosion”, said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters and had been in their parked car at the time at the store.

When she got out of her vehicle, she saw a body on the ground, she said. People started screaming.

The store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times that the limo was coming down a hill at “probably over 60 mph”.

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. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Speaking through tears, Valerie Abeling, said her 34-year-old niece Erin Vertucci was among the victims, along with her newly-wed husband, 30-year-old Shane McGowan. They were on their way to a friend's birthday party, she said; her own daughter had been invited along but couldn't go.

“She was a beautiful, sweet soul; he was too,” Abeling said.

The couple was married at a “beautiful wedding” in June at a venue in upstate New York, Abeling said. “They had everything going for them.”

Vertucci, who grew up in Amsterdam, New York, was an administrative assistant at St Mary's Healthcare in Amsterdam, Abeling said.

At the news conference, Fiore didn't comment on speed, or whether the occupants of the vehicle had been wearing seat belts.

“This is one of the biggest losses of life that we've seen in a long, long time,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at the news conference.

It's the deadliest transportation accident since February 2009, when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people, Sumwalt said.

And it appears to be the deadliest land-vehicle accident since a bus ferrying nursing home patients away from Hurricane Rita caught fire in Texas 2005, killing 23.

There was no information Sunday on the limousine, its origin or its integrity.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT