Schoharie Limousine Crash Victims Include 18 Birthday Party Attendees

20 killed after limousine crashes in upstate New York, authorities...

The massive vehicle, speeding downhill, approached the intersection of two highways that residents had long warned was unsafe.

In this Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 photo, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash involving a limousine in Schoharie, N.Y.

Among the dead were two pairs of newlyweds, four sisters from one family and two brothers from another.

Twelve people were killed in limo crashes in that span, 2012 through 2016.

The accident occurred about 25 miles west of Albany in Schoharie, N.Y. The group rented the limousine for a trip to a brewery to celebrate a birthday.

The family member told the Washington Post one of the victims sent a text before the crash, saying the limo "appeared in awful condition".

Abeling told The Washington Post that Erin sent a text message complaining about the condition of the limo, a last-minute replacement after a bus hired to shuttle the group broke down. "I can't even imagine how it happened, or why it happened".

"They had everything going for them", Abeling said. "Our lives have been changed forever".

Another newlywed couple, 34-year-old Erin McGowan and her husband, 30-year-old Shane McGowan, were also passengers in the limo at the time of the crash, their family members wrote on Facebook.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the limo failed a safety inspection by the New York state DMV last month and had no business on the road.

He said the state is seeking a cease-and-desist order to stop the limo company, Prestige Limousine, from operating until the investigation is concluded.

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It went across the road and hit an unoccupied SUV parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing the limousine driver and 17 passengers, as well as two people outside the vehicle.

Police say Prestige Limousine has been "under scrutiny" by the state Department of Transportation in the past, and that they are still analyzing the air bag system and whether the limo, a 2001 Ford Excursion, was mechanically sound. "We have been asking for something to be done for years".

Patrick Cushing, who worked for the New York State Senate, and his girlfriend, Amanda Halse, also died in the crash.

The women's aunt, Barbara Douglas, told the New York Post they were "beautiful girls".

"They were two very young, handsome people", said Abeling. "They were saving for a house and hoping to do everything that everybody hopes to do", he said. They accounted for only one death crash out of 34,439 fatal accidents in 2016, the previous year for which data is available. "Not only did they lose a child, but they lost four of their lovely daughters and their husbands".

A person with knowledge of the investigation into the crash tells The Associated Press that 18 of the victims were in the limousine. "They would do anything for you, and they were very close to each other, and they loved their family". Police say numerous victims were active on social media and their cell phones prior to the crash and are asking for information from those who know of the posts. "They were two very young, handsome people" who "had everything going for them".

She says he had "a golden heart" and "made you laugh so hard until you cried".

"We'll determine if there is any criminal culpability on the part of anyone", New York State Police Major Robert Patnaude said at a news conference Monday.

It crashed into an unoccupied parked auto and hit two pedestrians before coming to a rest in a shallow ravine, officials said.

Witnesses would later recall the limo blowing past a stop sign and plowing into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe at the bottom of the hill, police said.

Halse's sister, Karina Halse, told ABC News she had been texting with her sister as she got into the limo on Saturday.

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