20 killed in limo crash in upstate New York, Latest World News

20 killed in limo crash in upstate New York, Latest World News

Mr Cuomo told reporters the vehicle failed a state vehicle inspection last month and the driver did not have the correct permit to operate a limo with passengers. Meanwhile, state police are conducting a criminal probe of the tragedy. "I've been on the board for 12 years and this is one of the biggest losses of life ... that we've seen in a long, long time".

There has been no immediate comment from the limousine company. However, a victim of the crash had texted a friend claiming, "the limo wasn't in very good condition, and sounded awful", the victim's aunt told CNN.

"We'll determine whether there is any criminal culpability on the part of anyone, and if there is, we will hold them accountable", Patenaude said.

Prestige Limousine, the company responsible for the vehicle, was being sent a cease and desist until the investigation is complete, Cuomo said.

The wreck killed two pedestrians and all 18 people in the limousine, including four sisters who were headed with friends and relatives to a brewery for a party for one of the sisters.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was travelling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie, about 170 miles (270 kilometres) north of New York City when it failed to stop at a T-junction with state Route 30A, state police said.

"The law here was you need your vehicle to pass inspection".

The Gansevoort, New York-based company has three vehicles and two drivers, records show, although officials said three vehicles had been seized along with the one involved in the crash.

Cuomo also spoke about the victims.

"We don't know the cause of the accident, if it was a vehicle malfunction, if it was a driver malfunction (or) a driver error", Cuomo said.

Thank you for signing up for the Speed Feed Newsletter. "So first, our thoughts and prayers are with all those grieving parents, friends, relatives in this horrendous accident".

Prestige Limo is owned by local resident Shahed Hussain. Patenaude said state police have been in touch with him, but he was in Pakistan, his home country, on Monday.

Reports suggest the vehicle was transporting a wedding party.

He posed as a terrorist sympathizer in at least three federal investigations. In one case, he helped convict men accused of plotting to bomb NY synagogues.

In the Albany case, both men were convicted of terrorism-related charges, but defense attorneys argued Hussain had little credibility because he previously faced fraud charges and helped other immigrants fraudulently obtain driver's licenses.

The work as an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant paid well, according to "The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism".

Calls to phone numbers listed for the limousine companies and the motel all went to voicemail or went unanswered on Monday.

Deborah Hersman, who runs the National Safety Council and is a former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, said, "All of the occupants being belted, means it's safer for everyone". Officials say it's the deadliest transportation accident in the US since 2009. "They had their whole lives ahead of them", she said. Officials said the driver, who was not identified, did not have a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement required for limo drivers.

Jarring dash camera videos show what happens when a passenger in the back of a auto doesn't wear a seat belt, reports CBS2's Kris Van Cleave. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., asked the NTSB to investigate limo accidents nationwide, but nothing changed beyond deeper investigations.

"The whole process, from beginning to final recommendation, can take up to two years", NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said. Some seats had lap-shoulder belts, but it wasn't immediately clear if all the seats were equipped with seat belts and whether anyone had them on, Sumwalt said.

Limousine accidents remain rare, according to NTSB data.

Jessica Kirby, manager of the Apple Barrel Country Store, told the New York Times that the crash occurred in the parking lot of the store.