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20 Killed in Upstate New York Limo Crash

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A group of friends, including four sisters and two brothers, traveling to Cooperstown for a celebration were among the twenty killed in an Upstate New York limo crash after the driver failed to stop at a highly dangerous intersection.

The driver, whose name is unknown, also perished in the crash plowed through the T-intersection and into a parking lot for the Apple Barrel country store parking lot striking two pedestrians, who were killed instantly and continuing forward striking an unoccupied 2015 SUV before striking a tree and coming to a stop in a embankment.

The occupants of the limousine, who were all killed instantly, were all friends from Amsterdam, NY and were traveling to celebrate the 30th birthday of the youngest.

The Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe, in Schoharie, New York, was open and full with both locals and visitors who decribed an explosion, screams and an intense whoosh as the tranquil tourist stop went from a peaceful Saturday afternoob to chaotic carnage.


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Relatives of the victims were speaking with the Associated Press.

"Barbara Douglas, Aunt to the four sisters 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," the Associated Press reported.

"They were wonderful girls," she said, speaking with reporters Sunday. "They'd do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family. 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.

Rich Steenberg, 34, brother of Axel, 29, also died in the crash. The two brothers, were very close and also worked together. Family members of newlyweds Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowen have confirmed they too were killed in the crash. Another friend, Amy Rivenburg also died.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following statement: "My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident on Saturday in Schoharie. I commend the first responders who arrived on the scene and worked through the night to help. State police are working with federal and local authorities to investigate the crash, and I have directed State agencies to provide every resource necessary to aid in this investigation and determine what led to this tragedy. I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time." 

The National Transportation Safety Board has begun a primarily investigation and indicated they were in the infancy stages. All factors from speed to road conditions to visibility impairments, mechanical issues, manufacturer, driver record and accident history will all be examined.

Local residents are quick to point out the T-Intersection is extremely dangerous.


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“Jessica Kirby, the Apple Barrel’s store manger 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." [Yahoo News reported]

The destiantion is about 170 north of Manhattan and a popular tourist stop to view the beautiful fall foliage in Upstate New York.

The Schoharie crash is the deadliest since a bus fire in 2009 killed 23 elderly patients being evacuated during Hurricane Rita.

This is a developing story.

 

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