Cuomo: Limo in crash that killed 20 failed inspection last month

By Nicholas Sakelaris

Oct. 8 (UPI) -- A limousine involved in an accident that killed 20 people in New York state failed an inspection last month and the driver didn't have a chauffeur's license, New York's governor said Monday.

Officials said the limousine failed to stop at an intersection Saturday and went careening into a parking lot, where it struck a parked SUV. The accident killed 17 family and friends inside the limousine, the driver and the two pedestrians.


It's the worst transportation accident in the United States since a 2009 plane crash outside Buffalo, N.Y.

One of the passengers sent a text message before the crash {link: "",nm} complaining about the limousine, saying they had rented a party bus but it broke down on the way to pick them up.

"The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The accident occurred about 25 miles west of Albany in Schoharie, N.Y. The group rented the limousine for a trip to a brewery to celebrate a birthday.

"You just can't wrap your head around it, you just can't," said Barbara Douglas, an aunt to four of those who died. "[The riders] did the responsible thing so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere."


Those who died were identified as Shane and Erin McGowan, Amy and Azel Steenburg, Rich Steenburg, Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson, Allison King and Patrick Cushing.

"The motor is making everyone deaf," McGowan wrote in a text message to a friend before the crash. "When we get to [the] brewery we will all [be] deaf."

Prestige Limousine, the vehicle's operator, was ordered to cease operations until the investigation is complete. Officials said the driver, who was not identified, did not have a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement required for limo drivers.

The Gansevoort, N.Y.-based company had three vehicles that had failed inspections, Cuomo said.

The accident occurred at a T-shaped intersection where the posted speed limit is 50 mph.

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