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A limousine involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York Saturday failed to stop at an intersection seconds before the collision, officials said Sunday.

New York State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore confirmed that all 18 people in the limousine were killed, as well as two bystanders.

Fiore said the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on state Route 30 in Schoharie, about 170 miles north of New York City and 43 miles west of Albany, when it went through the intersection with Route 30A and struck a parked 2015 Toyota Highlander outside the Apple Barrel Country Store.

An aunt of one of the victims told The Associated Press the limousine was on its way to a birthday party when it crashed.

Valerie Abeling said newlyweds Erin Vertucci, 34, and Shane McGowan, 30 were among those killed. Abeling added that her daughter had been invited along but was unable to go.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said it was the deadliest transportation-related accident in the U.S. since February 2009, when 50 people were killed after a Continental Airlines regional flight crashed into a house near Buffalo, N.Y.
https://www.foxnews.com/us/limousine-crashes-in-new-york-killing-20-after-failing-to-stop-at-intersection-officials-say
 
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Muriel Schwenck

polyracial ecosexual
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20 people packed in a stretch limo doesn't sound very nice. Why not book a few ubers or lyfts? I think it would be cheaper and more comfy.
 

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Nell

Unending melancholy
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The limousine accident in Schoharie, N.Y., on Saturday took 20 lives almost instantly. It devastated families, killing siblings and leaving young children without parents. The victims were friends and relatives — including four sisters from one family, and two brothers from another — who were traveling to a brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y., to celebrate a 30th birthday.

• The limousine was rented by Axel and Amy Steenburg, newlyweds from Amsterdam, N.Y., who had married over the summer, according to Lester Andrews, Axel Steenburg’s stepfather. The group of friends had gathered to celebrate Amy Steenburg’s 30th birthday.

• Three of her sisters, Mary Dyson, Allison King and Abby Jackson, also died in the car crash, relatives said. Axel’s brother, Rich Steenburg, was also killed and is survived by his 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson. The Steenburg brothers both worked for GlobalFoundries, a foundry that produces semiconductors.

• Barbara Douglas, an aunt of the four sisters, told NBC News that the party was a surprise birthday celebration for her niece, Ms. Steenburg. “They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn’t be driving,” Ms. Douglas said. She added that Rob Dyson, who was married to Ms. Dyson, was also killed in the crash.

• Two other victims were also recently married: Erin and Shane McGowan. Rocco Semprivivo said his stepdaughter, Erin McGowan, had dated Shane McGowan for a few years before marrying at St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam in June.

• The victims were a tight-knit group of friends, most of them in their 30s, that had been recently married or had young children, according to Erin Flaherty, a mutual friend who lives in Manhattan.

“They were together multiple times a week always hanging out,” said Ms. Flaherty, noting they threw many backyard parties.

• A GoFundMe page was created to cover the future college expenses for the children of Adam and Abby Jackson, who were among the victims. The couple is survived by a 4-year-old son and a 16-month-old daughter.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/nyregion/limo-crash-victims-schoharie-ny.html
 

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Kittyskyfish

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Doing a U Turn.
Limo driver at fault.
Shoulda pulled in the parking lot and done it.
The U-turn limo accident was from 2015, in Long Island. The author cited it because it involved a stretch vehicle. In the Schoharie, N.Y accident, the stretch limo shot through a stop sign at high speed and crashed across the street into a parked vehicle in the Apple Barrel restaurant.

I think the limo suffered brake failure. A mile up the road from where they came is a truck warning sign, alerting there's a long stretch of grade descent ahead. These instruct heavy load operators to gear down. NTSB will discover if the braking system was adequate for the after-market extension (extra weight) and if the driver ever geared down to take the strain off the brakes.

I hope this link works, if not, go to the crash site and travel via Google Maps up the hill. You'll find the warning sign for trucks about a mile up.

Truck warning sign
 

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Anosmia

Active Member
It just keeps getting worse. The limo was apparently not in good shape, and was actually a replacement for another rented vehicle that broke down. Argh. And FOUR sisters dead. New parents dead. Newlyweds dead. How many kids were orphaned by this? All of the victims were so young, too. No, they weren't teens or kids, but still, as someone in her mid-40s, I think folks in their early 30s seem really young!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6251457/Party-limo-crashed-killed-20-minute-substitute-hire-van.html
 

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Satanica

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Horribly tragic. I realize how popular this sort of thing is, but it's also why I don't like putting my life in someone else's hands even when it's necessary.
 

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McDanel

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What happened is still my question. What happened in this wreck that killed every single person? No injured, all dead seems incredible.
 

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Craygor

Norse American
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Twenty minutes before the crash, passenger Erin McGowan – who died alongside new husband Shane – texted aunt Valerie Abeling to say the limo was 'in terrible condition',

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6251457/Party-limo-crashed-killed-20-minute-substitute-hire-van.html
Over 3000 lbs of people shoved into a into a poorly maintained limousine? Also, since this limo was a backup for a broken bus the party originally had I would like to know if this driver was called in at the last minute, and if so, was he fit to drive? I would not be surprised if this was a combination of mechanical failure and impaired driving.
 

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Brillig

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After looking at pics, I am confused. I agree with @McDanel, it seems very odd that all 18 occupants would die in a single car accident. So I envisioned the car was somehow totally crushed into oblivion. Then I saw this photo. WTF? How did they all die when the vehicle seems mostly intact?

 

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Craygor

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After looking at pics, I am confused. I agree with @McDanel, it seems very odd that all 18 occupants would die in a single car accident. So I envisioned the car was somehow totally crushed into oblivion. Then I saw this photo. WTF? How did they all die when the vehicle seems mostly intact?

I was thinking the same thing. Watch some weird shit come out of this like, the limo was such a piece of shit that engine exhaust had a leak and filled the inside with carbon monoxide and everyone passed out and died before the crash. That would actually explain a few fucking things.

edit: I just noticed @McDanel already brought up the exhaust leak idea.
 
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giantblue

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Kittyskyfish

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In an afternoon news conference outside Albany, the State Police offered few details about the accident, though Christopher Fiore, first deputy superintendent of the State Police, said that the limousine had been licensed in New York. Its driver was required to wear a seatbelt; its passengers in the back were not, he said. Only one person inside the limousine apparently survived the initial impact; that person later died after being flown in a helicopter to an Albany hospital.
Source
 

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Anosmia

Active Member
I smell a lot of lawsuits in the future and rightfully so. The driver was unlicensed for that type of vehicle, the vehicle failed inspection, AND one passenger complained in advance, via text, that the limo seemed unsafe. It's a perfect storm.

I already saw a GoFundMe for the driver's funeral; if it's found that he was negligible (and that partially seems to be the case, given that he was driving a vehicle he wasn't licensed to drive), I wonder if that will affect whether people will donate.

We were discussing, in one of my true crime groups on Facebook, how so many people could die in a vehicle that looks intact. Our guess is that it was all blunt force trauma because nobody was (presumably) wearing seatbelts. The moment of collision probably sent them slamming against each other and all around the limo. Per the Albany Times-Union:

The laws of physics are harsh and unforgiving when a human being is exposed to a high-speed car crash even while wearing a seat belt, and are amplified without that protection.

A tragic crash in Schoharie County that killed all 18 people in a rented stretch limousine likely reflected a "very severe impact" that inflicted various forms of sudden, extreme crushing injuries, said Michael Baden, an internationally known forensic pathologist.

... At the moment of a vehicle crash, a tremendous amount of kinetic energy — called G-force (for gravitational force) — is unleashed at levels that be equivalent to many tons. The level of G-force depends on factors like the weight of the person, the vehicle speed at the time of the crash, and how quickly the vehicle stops.
 

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Craygor

Norse American
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The Muslim Connection

Now this story is taking a weird twist. The owner of the fucked up "limo" service was an FBI informant at one time. Its been my experience that the majority of criminal informants are pieces of shit, looks like its true in this case as well.
1539029914545-png.8587

Shahed Hussain
The aging limousine that crashed Saturday in Schoharie County, killing 20, was operated by a company with a record of failed inspections — and an owner who was a controversial FBI informant.

The 2001 Ford Excursion was operated by Prestige Limousine, a small company that shares an address with a run-down motel in the Saratoga County town of Wilton, just north of tony Saratoga Springs.

Federal records indicate the company is owned by Shahed Hussain, whose backstory includes numerous stints as an undercover informant for the FBI.

Hussain, 62, is the registered owner of four livery companies that share the same Wilton address — Prestige Limousine, Chauffeur Service Saratoga, Luxury Limousine and Hasy Limousine. The companies' mailing address is in Gansevoort, a nearby hamlet.

Prestige in Saratoga County is a separate business from other limo companies in New York that have the same or similar names.

Hussain's companies have three vehicles and employ two drivers, according to online records maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The make of those vehicles is not listed in the database, and it is not clear if Hussain owned the 2001 Ford Excursion.

The three vehicles that he owns have been inspected five times in the last two years, and on four of those occasions the vehicle was ordered out of service as unsafe until repairs could be made, the database showed.

In brief remarks Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the vehicle that crashed had recently failed a state Department of Motor Vehicles inspection. The state has now ordered Prestige in Saratoga County to cease operations, Cuomo said.

It was not clear if the failed DMV inspection was one of those listed in the federal database.

Despite that record, Hussain and his companies maintained an “active” status with the federal motor-carrier agency. The companies' vehicles were driven a total of 3,500 miles last year, and had no accidents in the previous two years, according to the database.

The federal data lists Hussain’s address as 776 Saratoga Road, where the small motel doubles as the office for his limousine companies. Town of Wilton records reflect he sought a special-use permit so he could park his limos there.

The Crest Inn Suites and Cottages, which has an estimated market value of $903,000, is owned by Malik Riaz Hussain, according to Saratoga County property records. It has been panned by most guests who posted reviews on Trip Advisor and consumer reviews for Luxury Limousine and Hasy Limousine are also excoriating.

The motel, which includes attached units and separate cottages, was closed in May 2017 by town officials who decreed it "uninhabitable." It reopened after repairs were made.

Hussain could not be reached for comment Monday. The Prestige Limousine phone number listed with the FMCSA no longer is in service, and there was no answer at the motel or at two other limousine companies associated with Hussain.

Albany-area lawyer Dana Salazar, who represented Hussain in a civil action against Saratoga County that revolved around the Saratoga Road motel property, verified on Monday that her client had indeed been the celebrated informant.

Hussain immigrated from Pakistan in the early 1990s, fleeing a murder charge that he later said was trumped up, according to news reports. He worked as a translator for the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles but was caught helping people cheat DMV exams in return for money.

He later was accused of making fraudulent statements in a personal bankruptcy case as well.

Hussain pleaded guilty to a felony in relation to the DMV scam but avoided prison and deportation by becoming an informant, working in the Muslim community to find people that had radical tendencies.

His work led to the 2006 conviction of two men in Albany who were accused of expressing interest in buying a shoulder-fired missile. Civil liberties groups questioned the tactics used by the FBI and its informant, however.

When Hussain was sentenced in 2006 for the DMV scam, a federal judge spared him additional prison time after prosecutors argued he had provided "substantial assistance" in the Albany terrorism sting as well as a drug and fraud case in which 12 defendants were convicted.

Three years later, Hussain went undercover in Newburgh, Orange County, helping the FBI win conviction of four men who they accused of planning to shoot down airliners and plant bombs in Bronx synagogues. Critics said Hussain induced the men to plot the crimes by offering cash payments.

HBO aired a documentary on the case, The Newburgh Sting, in 2014. A New York Times reviewer said the documentary laid out a convincing case that the four men had been "fall guys" for the FBI.

"And, perhaps perversely, it’s hard not to come away without some degree of admiration for Mr. Hussain, seen and heard only in the grainy videos shot in his car and living room," reviewer Mike Hale. "He puts on a superior performance over a long period of time and lies with breathtaking ease and quickness. If there were Oscars for informants, he’d be on the red carpet every year."

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2018/10/08/prestige-limousine-onwer-shahed-hussain-fbi-informant-limo-crash-schoharie-ny/1567087002/
 
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Kittyskyfish

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@Anosmia , I agree. The vehicle hit an earthen berm (ravine) at a high speed. That type of immediate rapid deceleration can cause torn arteries, brain injury, broken necks. And time is a contributing factor. Only one person was listed as initially surviving the accident, dying shortly after. There might have been a few others that survived the initial impact and died before the first responders made it to the rural accident site.

From all reports I've read, witnesses report hearing only an explosion-type of sound, which suggests either the brakes weren't operable or weren't applied. No sounds of tires screeching were mentioned. So it could be either. One problem with the unconsciousness-driver scenario is that the driver stayed on the road the entire time until impact, but looking at the road from maps, there is enough bend to the road that makes staying on the pavement unlikely if no one was controlling the vehicle.
 

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Satanica

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I'll only add please be careful when you book something like this. Would you really be looking for cheap when it's your life in their hands? Do a google street view, for goodness sake, yelp, etc. There have been too many of these limo massacres not to vet them thoroughly.
 

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ChaosKitty

Queen Bitch From Hell
totally the drivers fault and there were 18 people in the limo not 20:2 pedestrians were hit but the weight was well over 3000lbs probably and he was going over 60 miles an hour down a steep hill which was stupid especially if you didn't know the terrain, and didn't stop at stop sign/light. The hill was already considered dangerous by locals. This is why I don't trust people I don't know to be behind the wheel and many I do. I f I die in a car wreck it will be because screwed up or didn't act fast enough or have the ability not to .
 

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McDanel

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Every time I see this, I think the same thing. Was it a roll over? How could it have killed every single person plus the two pedestrians? It seems so strange to me.
Not a rollover, the vehicle is strikingly intact.
 

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McDanel

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After looking at pics, I am confused. I agree with @McDanel, it seems very odd that all 18 occupants would die in a single car accident. So I envisioned the car was somehow totally crushed into oblivion. Then I saw this photo. WTF? How did they all die when the vehicle seems mostly intact?

I expected it to be crushed accordion style.
 

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Kittyskyfish

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I expected it to be crushed accordion style.
Crumple zones are engineered into the front portion of modern vehicles (engine block area) to minimize full-body accordion-style crushing. You would not see that type of full damage with a 50 mph impact (in this case, assuming some velocity loss due to hitting a parked vehicle and pedestrians). If you aren't convinced, watch crash test videos of cars vs concrete.

When you see pics of crumpled vehicles, that happens with 100+ mph speeds. Also, the berm gave uniform energy dispersion, unlike a pole or tree, where energy is concentrated into a small area - and more likely to 'slice' a vehicle.

Another factor in the party limo scenario is rider positioning. I would expect the seats to face each other, not forward. In this position, the victims are either facing each other or their necks are turned toward the front in horror. Even though the limo went engine-first into the berm, the passengers would experience side-impact injuries to the neck because of the way their sitting with no airbags, and most likely not wearing seatbelts. Side impact accidents are harder on the neck than front-facing.
 

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LFODBiker

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Plot thickens. A bit more on the owners informant stuff -

https://www.foxnews.com/us/fbi-informant-listed-as-owner-of-limousine-in-deadly-new-york-crash

The owner of the limousine involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York over the weekend was a wire-wearing informant in two FBI terrorism stings, Fox News has learned.

The government credited Shahed Hussain with rooting out radical Muslims at mosques in the New York cities of Newburgh and Albany while he was working as a well-paid FBI snitch.

<...>

Hussain became an FBI informant after being convicted of federal fraud charges in 2002 in Albany, according to the Albany Times Union. He was taking payments from immigrants, some of whom could not read English, in a scheme to cheat on state exams to obtain driver's licenses.

As part of one of the FBI stings, Albany imam Yassin Aref and an acquaintance who owned a pizza shop were accused of laundering money for Hussain in connection with a fictitious terror plot, the paper reported.

They were convicted in 2006 and both sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Hussain reemerged as an FBI informant in 2009, when four Newburgh men were charged with conspiring to plant explosives outside two Bronx synagogues.

Hussain befriended one of the men at a Newburgh mosque while posing as a wealthy businessman and then met the other three before implicating all of them them in the terror plot.

The foiled terror plot was trumpeted as a “textbook example of how a major investigation should be conducted” by then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the New York Post reported.

I'm not terribly paranoid or conspiracy minded. And the previously posted lessons of automobile engineering by folks more learned than I make this an Occam's Razor event. The owner here has a super shady past and maintenance issues notwithstanding, I can't shake a nagging feeling that maybe something was tampered with in some sort of retaliation scheme against Hussain by whoever.

And for anyone that doesn't get the seat belt thing. Just click this
 

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ChaosKitty

Queen Bitch From Hell

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notchback

Insensitive Asshole
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I have a feeling this owner will be gone soon. He's outed too many radicals. Won't be long before they off him.
 

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Anosmia

Active Member
Watch this limo crash test video. Skip to the three-minute mark, where the test begins in earnest. This is a more traditional limo, whereas the Schoharie limo was more of an SUV/Hummer-style limo, but still, I think this presents a very clear picture of why they died. The crash test dummies were a mangled heap and there were only three of them. Imagine 17 unrestrained bodies slamming against each other as projectiles in the long center of that limo.

I think these comments on Reddit do a good job of describing it:

“A sign that the impact zones were effective would be if the limo were in bad shape after the crash. If the limo looks good, it didn't absorb a lot of the force- which means the people inside absorbed more.”

“All that energy went somewhere. If the car didn't take it, the contents did.”

“If the car didn't absorb the kinetic energy, the people did. Cars are made to crumple up and absorb kinetic energy that can kill u in collisions.”

“speed + no seat belts + close proximity to 16 other bags of water @over a hundred pounds each not secured to the seats coming to a sudden stop. everyone in the back hits everyone in the front. Physics is going to try its hardest to homogenize the contents. 17 sacks of broken bones with punctured organs.”
 

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