What We Know About the Fatal Limo Crash That Killed 20 People in Upstate New York

State Police and federal authorities planned to continue their investigation Monday into a limousine crash 35 miles outside Albany that killed 20 people Saturday afternoon, the worst transportation accident in the U.S in nine years.

Police offered few details about what the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board called a “horrific crash” in the town of Schoharie.

But media reports and interviews detailed the devastation.

Four sisters in the limousine were killed; so too were a newly married couple in their 30s; as were the driver and two pedestrians who were visiting at a popular country store, where the vehicle barreled through the parking lot.

“It’s tragic. Horrible. I can’t even begin to even explain,” Valerie Abeling told The Washington Post, confirming that her 34-year-old niece, Erin McGowan, and her new husband, Shane McGowan, 30, were among the dead.

The couple were married in June.

Here’s the latest on the crash:

What happened?

State Police First Superintendent Christopher Fiore told reporters Sunday the limousine, a 2001 Ford Excursion, failed to stop at the intersection at about 1:55 p.m. Saturday.

The limousine then slammed into a parked, unoccupied 2015 Toyota Highlander.

Witnesses said the limousine crashed into an embankment behind the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store.

The crash “sounded like an explosion,” Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, described to The Associated Press.

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

Police said the speed limit was 50 mph.

The T-shaped intersection has long been a trouble spot, and Kirby told the The Associated Press that repeatedly tractor trailers were unable to stop at the intersection and crashed near the store.

About the deceased

Police didn’t release the list of the deceased Sunday, but family members described their loved ones who died.

The 17 young adults in the limousine, who were all believed to be from nearby Amsterdam, were headed to Cooperstown to celebrate the 30th birthday of Amy Steenburg, according to reports.

She was killed along with her husband Axel; Axel’s brother Rich; Amy’s three sisters and one of her brothers-in-law, Erin’s uncle Anthony Vertucci told the Times Union in Albany.

Two of the couples were newlyweds, the paper said.

“They were wonderful girls,” the sisters’ aunt, Barbara Douglas, told The Associated Press.

“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.

“They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn’t have to drive anywhere,” she said, telling the paper that several of the couples had young children.

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Source: USA Today