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 New York, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians, officials and victims’ relatives said Sunday.
The weekend crash was characterized by authorities as the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in nearly a decade. The crash turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon to horror at a rural spot popular with tourists viewing the region’s fall foliage. Relatives said the limousine was carrying the sisters and their friends to a 30th birthday celebration for the youngest.
“They were wonderful girls,” said their aunt, Barbara Douglas, speaking with reporters Sunday. “They’d do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family.”
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.
“They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn’t have to drive anywhere,” she said, adding the couples had several children between them who they left at home.
The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City, when it failed to stop at 2 p.m. Saturday 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 limousine driver, the 17 passengers, and two people outside the vehicle. (Pictured) scene of a fatal crash, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, where a limousine crashed into a parked and unoccupied SUV killing 20 people at an intersection a day earlier, in Schoharie, N.Y.
The crash “sounded like an explosion,” said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters. She had been in another car parked at the store, saw a body on the ground and heard people start screaming.
The store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times the limo was coming down a hill at “probably over 60 mph.” In an email to The Associated Press, she complained that the junction where the crashed occurred is accident-prone.
“We have had 3 tractor trailer type trucks run through the stop through our driveway and into a field behind the business,” Kirby wrote. “All of these occurred during business hours and could’ve killed someone then.” PhotoCredit (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Be the first to know about breaking news. We deliver news that matter directly to your email.