Victims of Fatal Limo Accident in NY Remembered in Nighttime Vigil
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Over 1,000 people crowded into a park in Amsterdam, New York, Monday evening for a vigil in memory of the 20 people killed when a limousine ran a stop sign and crashed into a parked SUV on Saturday in the nearby town of Schoharie.
Seventeen passengers celebrating a 30th birthday and the limo driver died at the scene. The accident also killed two pedestrians in “the nation’s deadliest transportation disaster in nine years.”
Investigators on the scene, including a team from the National Transportation Safety Board, have not yet said how fast the limo was going at the bottom of a long hill. They also have not said why the vehicle failed to stop at the stop sign.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the 19-seat vehicle had at least some seat belts. However, it was still unclear whether anyone was wearing them.
Governor Cuomo Says Limo Failed Latest Inspection
The 2001 Ford Excursion, which had been converted into a limousine, had failed an inspection last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. "In my opinion, the owner of this company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road," Cuomo said while attending a Columbus Day parade in New York City.
State Police spokesman Major Robert Patnaude explained that the driver did not have a P endorsement on his commercial license. This endorsement would signify that he was authorized to transport passengers WIVB channel 4 in Buffalo, New York, reported. The driver was identified as Scott Lisinicchia by Syracuse.com.
Patnaude said authorities have located the limo company owner, Shahed Hussain, who is currently in Pakistan.
New York Government Seeing to Temporarily Stop Limo Company from Operating
The state is seeking a cease and desist order to stop the limo company, Prestige Limousine Chauffeur Service in Gansevoort, New York, from operating until the investigation is concluded. Lee Kindlon, an attorney for the company, said the failures were for minor issues like windshield wipers and all were fixed.
Limo Company Takes Its Fleet of Vehicles off the Road during Investigation
In a statement reported on Monday by CNN, Prestige Limo said it "extends its deepest condolences to the family members and friends of those who tragically lost their lives on Saturday. We are performing a detailed internal investigation to determine the cause of the accident and the steps we can take in order to prevent future accidents."
Prestige Limo acknowledged that it has "voluntarily taken our fleet of vehicles off of the road during the investigation." The company said it has already met with federal and state investigators and plans to do so again.