New York limo crash: Newlyweds and young couples among 20 dead

20 dead after wedding limo crashes in New York

'Horrific' limo crash in New York State claims 20 lives

The limousine carrying 18 people in NY that plowed past a stop sign, through an intersection, and into a parked SUV, killing everyone inside, failed an inspection last month and was not supposed to be on the road, officials said on October 8.

Mr Cuomo also told a news conference that the driver did not have the appropriate licence for it.

Hundreds of people gathered Monday night at a park overlooking the Mohawk River in Amsterdam, New York, some holding flowers, small candles and handwritten inspirational notes, to honor the 20 crash victims who died on Saturday.

The owner of the company, Shahed Hussain, whom U.S. media identified as an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant who had testified in terrorism cases, was in Pakistan, police said.

But officials already saw some red flags, Cuomo said: The driver didn't have the necessary commercial license, the limo had been cut apart and lengthened in a way Cuomo said violated federal law, and the vehicle failed a state inspection that examined such things as the chassis, suspension and brakes.

He added, however, that officials did not yet know the cause of the accident - whether it was an issue with the vehicle or a driver error.

Officials worked with the state to outlaw heavy trucks, she said, but there are still accidents.

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.

State police confirmed 18 of the victims were inside the limousine, while the other two were pedestrians standing in the auto park of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe.

Jackson was a special education teacher in Amsterdam, said Santabarbara, who represents the part of NY where the crash happened.

The stretch limo full of occupants had been on its way to a birthday party at a brewery Saturday afternoon when it slammed into an unoccupied SUV shortly before 2 p.m. after missing a stop sign, according to ABC News.

The reports citing governor Andrew Cuomo come after one of the passengers reportedly complained of the limo's "terrible condition" moments before she died.

"The bulk of the oversight for any organization that's going to be offering services for hire that are completely within a state would really fall very heavily to the state", she says.

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Ms Douglas 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.

"They were the Four Musketeers", he said, outside their parents home in Amsterdam, New York.

"These were young couples, just got married and had their whole lives ahead of them".

Ms Barbara Douglas, the aunt of the sisters, said the victims were smart, attractive and lived life to the fullest.

"I honestly think it was a more unsafe intersection than it was before", he told The New York Times, adding that it was a "nasty intersection". "Thank you for being so kind and loving xo". "She just wanted to make sure everyone was happy, and I'm so grateful that she was my sister out of everyone else on this earth".

Regardless of whether a limo had been modified, there is a prevailing concern among some safety experts: rear passengers in limos are not required to wear seat belts.

Patrick Cushing, and his girlfriend of two years, Amanda Halse, have also been confirmed as among the dead.

"There's a bit of a Frankenstein approach, where a vehicle is chopped up and put back together with parts that were not originally designed for that vehicle", said Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council advocacy group and a former NTSB chair.

"The vehicle appeared in awful condition", Abeling told The Washington Post, remembering a text sent by Erin.

"I think the owner of Prestige has a lot of questions to answer", Cuomo said. "It's a awful tragedy and there's no words to describe how we feel". It's believed to be the deadliest transportation accident of any kind in the USA since 2009.

We have shared this information with the New York State Police to assist in their investigation.

Speaking through tears, Valerie Abeling, said her niece Erin Vertucci was among the victims, with her newlywed husband, Shane McGowan, and were on their way to the birthday party of a friend when the crash occurred.

A grand jury found that vehicles converted into stretch limousines often don't have safety measures including side-impact air bags, reinforced rollover protection bars and accessible emergency exits. They rented the limo after a plan to rent a different vehicle from another company collapsed.

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