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Limo involved in fatal crash never should have been on the road, New York governor says

NBC News logo NBC News 10/9/2018 Kalhan Rosenblatt and Tom Winter

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The limousine involved in an accident that killed 20 people in upstate New York on Saturday, including two pedestrians and all those riding inside, failed an inspection last month and should not have been on the road, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road," Cuomo said on Monday while speaking to press.

Cuomo also said the driver of the vehicle, identified by multiple law enforcement officials as Scott Lisnicchia, 53, did not have the specific license — a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement — required to drive the limousine.

a group of people standing next to a tree: Image:

Image:
© Hans Pennink

It is still not clear whether the limousine crash was the driver's fault or a vehicle malfunction of the, Cuomo said, but that the National Transportation Safety Board and state police were investigating.

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

A spokesperson for Prestige Limousine did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Cuomo's statement.

Earlier, a company spokesperson told NBC's "Today" that they are "devastated by this loss," but declined to comment further because their owner is out of the country.

Cuomo said the limousine was a "chopped vehicle," meaning it had been cut and elongated and needed federal certification that it had been extended in a way that is compliant with the law, which it did not have."I think the owner of Prestige has a lot of questions to answer," Cuomo said.

He added that laws and policies in New York state should have prevented the crash, but those laws and policies were broken in this case.

The accident occurred Saturday afternoon when the driver failed to stop at an intersection in Schoharie, New York, and careened into a parking lot before crashing into an unoccupied SUV, which struck the pedestrians, authorities said.

The limo had been rented as part of a 30th birthday celebration, according to Barbara Douglas, the aunt of Amy Steenburg, who was killed in the accident.

Amy Steenburg's husband Axel Steenburg, along with Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson, and Allison King were among the 18 people killed in the limousine.

"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," National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at a news conference on Sunday


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