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NY crash that killed 20 'sounded like an explosion'

Schoharie limousine crash graphic by MGN.
Schoharie limousine crash graphic by MGN.(KOLO)
Published: Oct. 7, 2018 at 9:18 AM PDT
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The aunt of one of the victims in a limousine crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York says the vehicle was on its way to a birthday celebration.

Valerie Abeling says newlyweds Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan were among those killed. She says Vertucci was 34 and McGowan was 30.

Abeling says her daughter had been invited along but was unable to go.

She says the family has not learned much about the circumstances of the crash.

She says "our lives have been changed forever."

Officials say Saturday's crash in Schoharie (sko-HAYR'-ee) was the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. since a 2009 plane crash in Buffalo, New York, killed 50 people.

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3:10 p.m.

State police say the limousine in an upstate New York crash that killed 20 people failed to stop at an intersection.

Authorities said at a news conference Sunday that the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine plowed into an unoccupied sport-utility vehicle in a parking lot across from the intersection. Two pedestrians there were also struck and died.

The other 18 victims in Saturday's crash were in the limousine. Authorities say all the occupants died.

The crash was in Schoharie, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City.

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1:40 p.m.

A witness says a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York "sounded like an explosion."

Linda Riley of Schenectady, New York, says she was in a parked car at the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie (skoh-HAY'-ree) on Saturday when she heard the noise.

She says she got out and saw a body on the ground by her vehicle, and broken tree branches everywhere.

A person with knowledge of the investigation tells The Associated Press that 18 of the victims were in a limousine and two were bystanders.

Schoharie is about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City.

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12:15 p.m.

A person with knowledge of the investigation into a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York tells The Associated Press that 18 of the victims were in a limousine.

The person was not authorized to discuss the preliminary information publicly and spoke Sunday on the condition of anonymity. The person says that the other two victims were bystanders.

State police said earlier that 20 people died in a two-vehicle crash at the Apple Barrel Country Store on Saturday in Schoharie (skoh-HAY'-ree). That's about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City.

An afternoon news conference is planned.

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Associated Press writer David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed.

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11:35 a.m.

State police say 20 people died in a crash in upstate New York that local officials say involved a limousine near a crowded tourist spot.

The Times Union of Albany reported local officials said a limo speeding down a hill crashed into bystanders at the Apple Barrel Country Store on Saturday in Schoharie (skoh-HAY'-ree). That's about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City.

The store is a popular spot for autumn leaf-peepers.

Authorities on Sunday didn't release names of victims or specifics. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

An afternoon news conference is planned.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Limousine crash ranks among deadliest US traffic accidents

 
A limousine carrying 18 people crashed over the weekend in upstate New York, killing all the occupants and two pedestrians, making it among the nation's deadliest ground-traffic accidents. A look at some others:
- Sept. 23, 2005: A bus ferrying nursing home residents away from Hurricane Rita caught fire and exploded while stuck on a gridlocked highway south of Dallas, killing 23 people.
- May 9, 1999: A bus heading to a casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, ran off a highway on Mother's Day, killing 22 people. Investigators said the driver was impaired by severe medical conditions and use of marijuana and an antihistamine.
- Sept. 21, 1989: A school bus collided with a soft drink trunk and fell into a water-filled pit near Mission, Texas. Twenty-one students were killed and 60 injured.
- May 14, 1988: A church bus returning from an amusement park collided head-on with a pickup near Carrollton, Kentucky, killing 24 children and three adults on the bus.
- May 30, 1986: A speeding Starline Sightseeing Tours coach crashed in a California canyon, killing 21 passengers.
- June 5, 1980: A tour bus carrying mostly senior citizens from Dallas to Branson, Missouri, plunged into a 40-foot ravine near Jasper, Arkansas, killing 20 people and injuring 13.
- May 21, 1976: A bus carrying students from the Yuba City, California, High School choir plunged off a freeway ramp near Martinez, killing 28 students and a teacher.
- Sept. 17, 1963: A makeshift bus carrying 58 migrant workers was struck by a freight train outside Chualar, California. Thirty-two workers died in what remains the deadliest motor vehicle accident in U.S. history.
- Feb. 28, 1958: A bus carrying 48 elementary and high school students went off the road in Prestonburg, Kentucky, lunged down an embankment and into swollen river waters, where it was swept downstream and submerged, killing 27.
- Aug. 4, 1952: Two Greyhound buses collided before dawn south of Waco, Texas, killing 28 people. Many soldiers and airmen were among the dead.
 
(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)