Transcript for More details emerge in deadly New York limo crash that killed 20
It was a weekend drive. A group of friends gathered together to celebrate a birthday heading to a local brewery when it all went terribly wrong. Stand by. 18 people inside a limousine killed when officials say it barrelled through this intersection plowing into a parking lot and slamming into an empty SUV and striking and killing two bystanders before landing in a wooded area. This is one of the biggest losses of life, loss of lives that we've seen in a long, long time. This, the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. Since 2009. In total, 20 dead, a community left reeling. Know that we try to understand the pain you're facing. And with an investigation ongoing, questions now swirling or the checkered safety record of that limousine company and the potential dangers this form of luxury travel may hold. It was just before 2:00 P.M. In sch ho harie, New York, a small town near Albany, the birthday celebration of the youngest of four people, in all 18 people including the driver riding in a stretch Ford excursion. This video shows the path the limousine took. The speed limit 50 miles per hour. Authorities say it's up clear how fast the vehicle was going. My colleague David curly was on the scene. Reporter: The limousine came barreling down the hill. There's a stop sign there and it didn't stop and it came right across the state highway and slammed right into this parking lot and an embankment which is very difficult to see here. We've got two cars off. Emergency workers using the jaws of life to cut open the limousine. We were pulling bodies out. They were still alive, and -- and we kept going. This morning authority hoping to learn more about the seconds and milliseconds before the high-speed crash and while there were no sounds of skidmarks on the road. The air bag control module, think about it as the black box of the Ford excursion, studied. The action went -- the engine went on behind the driver's seat. The engine block was pushed back into the driver's compartment. But behind the seat? It's hard to tell because there's so much damage. While there were seat belts in the vehicle, it's not clear whether any of the passengers wore them, something not required in New York state. During a severe crash we're going to be violently thrown around the vehicle. When you have that many people unrestrained you have increased chances of contacting the interior of the vehicle, hard structures, with your head and other vital body regions. And lingering questions about earlier that day. It appears at least one of the victims may have been worried about the limo's condition prior to the crash. The "New York Times" reporting one of those kills Erin Mcgowan sent a text saying the motor is making everyone deaf. In search of answers and families heartbroken. I had four dead. Amy, Abigail, Mary and Alice along with three of their husbands. 26-year-old Amanda and boyfriend Patrick curbing also lost their lives. I have absolutely no words. I feel like my heart is sunken. It's in a place where I've never felt this type of pain before. Today in hopes of getting answers, investigators are turning their attention to the driver and the limo company, prestige limousine based in upstate New York. According to officials, the driver identified as Scott lisonissier also killed did not have the proper license to carry that many passengers. The onus of checking credentials is on the limousine company. Richard Burke is the driver's family spokesperson. The wife told me that he had complained to her regarding the condition of some of the vehicles. But New York governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters there were red flags prior to the accident. The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road. The governor pointing to a series of citations from just last month when the limo involved received six citations, among them issues with the brake system and missing or defective emergency exits, and all adding to record peppered with infractions. In the last five years safety inspections forced the company to put Furr four other peeks out of service and this morning they were responding to the governor. It's a way for them to respond to any failures on behalf of the state. Claiming repairs had been made. As we understand right now, the inspections last month were minor things, windshield wipers, a latch on a window that needed to be fixed, and all those things were fixed. Investigators say this man is the owner of prestige. He's same man who once worked as an FBI informant. For a time he ran piece teenage out of this low-budget hotel. At the moment he was out of the country and they stated condolences saying they have already met with state and federal investigators and plan to do so again, but deadly accidents like these are now raising questions about the safety of riding in a stretch limb seen. There are no organizations that are conducting high-speed trash tests to evaluate safety. These are actual think regular cars or SUVs that are modified to enlarge their capacity like the vehicle in Saturday's crash. Ford says they have never made a stretch version of the excursion SUV. Once you take a section, you're compromising the structures. They do build them up with additional steel and aluminum component, but engineering that went into that first round of design is -- is simply not there for some of these modified vehicles. This isn't the first time an accident involving one of these stretch limousines has led to multiple fatalities. Back in 2005, a limousine crash in Long Island killed four of the eight passengers on board after the vehicle was struck. The limousine was making a turn at the intersection when the pickup truck drove into the passenger side of the limousine. That crash prompted a grand jury investigation and the report found that largely unregulated safety features of stretch limousines were unsufficient to protect passengers. The vehicle had been converted to a town car, and according to the highway administration only 35 is of the vehicular accidents in the last ten years involved large limos. For the most part these event tend to be very fair. We have a lot more work to do in some areas. ??? Amazing grace ??? Tonight governor goal ordering that flags be flown at half staff to honor the victims. ??? That saved a wretch like me ??? Prayers for those families affect and everyone in that community.
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