Limo Accident in Upstate New York Leaves 20 People Dead
A limousine loaded with passengers who were headed to a 30th birthday party ran a stop sign on a highway in Upstate New York and crashed into an SUV parked outside a store. The horrific collision occurred the afternoon of Oct. 6, fatally injuring all 18 people in the limo as well as two pedestrians. According to an Associated Press news report, officials say that this is the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in almost a decade. The catastrophic crash occurred at a spot where tourists gather each year around this time to take in the fall foliage.
Tragic and Devastating
The 2001 Ford Excursion limo was traveling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie about 170 miles north of New York City when it failed to stop at a T-intersection with Route 30A. The limo driver then continued across the roadway before striking an unoccupied SUV that was parked near the Apple Barrel Country store. The impact killed the limousine’s driver and 17 passengers as well as two pedestrians who were customers of the store. Bystanders who heard the crash said it sounded like an explosion.
The store’s manager said the vehicle was hurtling down a hill at about 60 mph just before hitting the SUV. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident. NTSB’s Chairman Robert Sumwalt stated this is one of the biggest losses of life they have seen “in a long, long time.” This collision is the deadliest transportation accident since February 2009 when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people. The fatality count here may also make it the deadliest crash on land since a bus carrying nursing home patients away from Hurricane Rita caught fire in Texas in 2005, killing 23 victims.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of all these deceased victims and the community of Schoharie, which is reeling from this tragedy. Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and prayers.
There are, of course, a number of questions regarding how or why this tragic crash occurred. The vehicle was apparently an after-market stretch limo. There have been limousine crashes where safety issues have come up before, particularly in a July 2015 crash in Long Island in which four women were killed. While factory-built limos are required to meet strict safety standards, aftermarket vehicles are not. It is critical that investigators look into the ability of this driver (over issues concerning impairment, distraction, speeding, etc.) and whether a vehicle defect or mechanical malfunction caused this crash.
In such cases, the families of deceased victims would be well advised to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer who is also knowledgeable in handling vehicle defect cases. We sincerely hope that the affected families, in this case, receive the support as well as the grief counseling they need to get them through this very difficult time.