Twenty people were killed in a limousine crash in Schoharie County in upstate New York on Saturday, state police said.
The accident took place at the intersection of Routes 30 and 30-A just before 2 p.m. and is being investigated, according to the state police.
“The investigation at the scene revealed that a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on State Route 30 and failed to stop at the intersection with State Route 30-A,” Christopher Fiore, first deputy superintendent of the New York State Police said Sunday. “The limousine traveled across the intersection into a parking lot and stuck a 2015 Toyota Highlander that was unoccupied and parked.”
Two pedestrians standing near by were also struck and killed, he said. All 20 victims were adults and the 18 people inside the limousine, including the driver, were killed, Fiore said. The driver and front seat passenger are required to wear a seatbelt by New York law, but the other passengers are not, he said.
“This is the most deadly transportation accident in this country since 2009,” said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The identities of the victims are not being release pending the notification of family members and autopsy results. A dedicated phone line has been set up to assist the families of victims, who can speak to a member of the state police at (877) 672-4911.
“The investigation is very preliminary, it’s in its infancy stages,” Captain Richard O’Brien of the New York State Police told ABC News 10.
The limo, which was carrying a wedding party, crashed into two people outside the Apple Barrel Country store located at the intersection, according to the Albany Times Union. Two helicopters, six ambulances and three fire companies responded to the crash, the Times Union reported.
The Apple Barrel posted a message about the incident on Facebook Saturday.
It is unclear what caused the crash, but the NTSB sent a team to investigate. The intersection is known for being a dangerous one, and Schoharie Town Supervisor Alan Tavenner said that improvements made to the intersection seven years ago don’t seem to have made it safer, according to the Times Union.
A witness who lives down the street from the store told ABC News 10 that they saw people in the Apple Barrel parking lot and “then I heard screaming.”
“Then I saw this large van, a very unusual looking vehicle out here in Scoharie in the bushes and really wrecked, hit a tree,” Bridey Finnagen the local news outlet. “The first responders broke some windows to try to get people out.”