Limo in deadly New York crash failed inspection: Governor

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It was not immediately known whether the limousine involved in the Schoharie crash had suffered from any of those deficiencies. Its owner, Shahed Hussain, was out of the country, officials told reporters.

Cuomo said the limousine was owned by Prestige Limousine in the Albany area, but didn't have the necessary federal certification to operate and failed a state inspection just last month.

But the company that operated the limo has been served a cease and desist order until the investigation is concluded, Cuomo added.

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. Residents in the town of 3,000 mourned Sunday afternoon as the town supervisor reflected on the two volunteer ambulance companies who responded.

The fatal crash highlights a number of shortcomings in such vehicles, including crash worthiness, seat belt use and the patchwork of state and federal regulations that provide inadequate oversight, Hersman said.

Stretch limousines are often converted cars or SUVs.

The addition of several thousand pounds of additional frame and sheet metal from the longer body and the added weight of carrying more than a dozen passengers also puts far greater strain on a stretch limo's brakes and tires than they were designed for, he said.

The limousine involved in the deadliest transport accident in the United States for almost a decade had failed inspection and the driver was not properly licensed, a top official said Monday.

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Investigators were reviewing text messages and social media posts from victims who were active moments before the deadly crash. So did Adam and Abby Jackson, and are survived by their two daughters, four-year-old Archer, and 16-month-old Elle. Ms Abeling said in an interview.

Valerie Abeling told CNN her niece, Erin Vertucci and Erin's husband Shane McGowan, who were married in June, were among the victims in the limo.

Still, the group continued southwest on State Route 30.

Saturday's tragedy unfolded outside the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe in Schoharie, a three-hour drive north of Manhattan. Two pedestrians standing nearby were fatally struck, Fiore said. So was the limo's driver. The accident killed 17 family and friends inside the limousine, the driver and the two pedestrians. All 18 occupants and two bystanders were killed, police said Sunday. The graphic shows the site where it happened.

"You have 20 fatalities". In a Facebook post, the store said that it would remain open through the weekend despite the "horrific accident in front of our business".

The crash appeared to be the deadliest land-vehicle accident in the USA since a bus full of Texas nursing home patients fleeing 2005′s Hurricane Rita caught fire, killing 23.

How did the crash occur?

"At this time the identities of the victims are not being released pending the autopsy results and notification of the family members", said Fiore.

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They were headed for an upstate NY brewery but never made it, officials said. "Our lives have been changed forever".

Suzanne Douglass said her nephew, Matthew Coons, of Johnstown, also died in the crash.

The families have obtained little information about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones, largely comprised of a close-knit group of high school and neighborhood friends from Amsterdam, New York.

"He loved, hugged and cried with his family and friends like their problems were his", he said.

"The Steenburg and King families suffered tremendous loss yesterday that is nothing short of tragic", Rich Steenburg's family said in a statement to CNN affiliate WHAM.

The New York grand jury report recommended state lawmakers require stretch limousines that seat nine or more passengers to meet the stricter inspection regulations that apply to buses.

Three years ago, four women were killed in a limousine on Long Island as they toured wineries when the vehicle was hit by a truck.

"She was the sweetest", her coworker Deneen Palmateer told the local news organization.

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