Crash limo 'had failed safety test', claims NY governor

09 October, 2018, 16:46 | Author: Myra Gill
  • 20 dead after wedding limo crashes in New York

"My heart is sunken".

On Monday morning, standing at the intersection where the crash happened, Karina Halse cried as she confirmed to ABC's "Good Morning America" that her sister, 26-year-old Amanda Halse, and her sister's husband, Patrick Cushing, were among those killed.

In the 2014 limo crash in Cranbury, N.J., that almost killed comedian Tracy Morgan and left another man dead, the NTSB found none of the passengers were wearing seat belts, which contributed to the severity of the injured.

In this Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 photo, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash involving a limousine in Schoharie, N.Y.

Witnesses said the limousine crashed into an embankment behind the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store. Autopsies were being performed, including on the driver, to see if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Speaking to reporters, Cuomo said it remains unclear whether driver error or vehicle malfunction led to the crash, which is being investigated by New York State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board.

"I think the owner of Prestige has a lot of questions to answer", Cuomo said. Police said the driver was not properly licensed, and the vehicle failed inspection a month ago.

The crash happened in Schoharie in upstate NY on Saturday shortly before 2pm.

"This is an area where we clearly have a gap that needs to be addressed and it's incumbent upon state policy makers and the feds to work together and address this", she said.

Prestige Limousine has had vehicles inspected five times in the past five years and had four taken out of service, according to Department of Transportation records, ABC News reported.

In inspections September 4, the company's limos were cited for defective brakes, lack of proper emergency exits, flat or balding tires, defective windshield wipers, and other maintenance problems.


Records indicate that the limousine company involved in the crash is owned by a noted Federal Bureau of Investigation informant.

In one case, he helped convict men accused of plotting to bomb NY synagogues.

His role at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was assailed by civil liberties groups, who accused him of helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation entrap people.

Hussain could not be reached for comment on Monday.

According to witnesses, the white SUV-style limo failed to halt at a stop sign, and was travelling at around 60mph (95km/h) when it flew through an intersection, hit an empty auto outside the Apple Barrel Country Store & Cafe, and then hurtled across a drainage ditch.

Sumwalt said the NTSB is interested in the mechanical condition of the vehicle, including its brakes, tires and suspension systems. "This is the most deadly transportation accident or crash that we've seen on USA soil since February of 2009".

And it is the deadliest transportation accident overall since February 2009, when a plane crash near Buffalo, New York, killed 50 people, said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Factory-built limousines must meet stringent safety regulations.

Following a 2015 limo crash on Long Island that killed four, a special grand jury found limos with custom remodeling to accommodate more passengers can lack important safety features.

There are few federal regulations governing limos that have been modified after leaving the factory.

Another complicating factor is that US transportation regulation is a patchwork between federal and state agencies - regulations can vary greatly between states. Sumwalt said there was extensive damage to the front of the limo, mostly on the driver's side. She said her own daughter had been invited along but couldn't go.

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