A limousine “failed to stop” at an intersection in upstate New York and stuck a parked vehicle, leaving 20 people dead, State Police said Sunday.
The two-car crash happened shortly before 2 p.m. ET Saturday in Schoharie, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore told reporters. The 2001 Ford Excursion was traveling southwest on State Route 30 when it didn’t stop at the intersection with State Route 30 A and collided with an SUV in the parking lot, Fiore said.
All 18 people in the limo were killed, including the driver, Fiore said. Two pedestrians near the unoccupied 2015 Toyota Highlander in the parking lot were also killed, he said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families following this horrific tragedy,” Fiore said.
Authorities are still notifying the families of victims and declined to release the victims’ names, according to Fiore.
He declined to discuss the limo’s origin and destination.
He said authorities were able to figure out the limo’s direction of travel and what took based on evidence found at the crash scene. He said there were also witnesses to the crash.
The speed limit at the intersection is 50 mph, Fiore said.
‘I heard a loud bang’
A National Transportation Safety Board team arrived Sunday to investigate. The team expects to remain on the scene for about five days, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said.
The crash happened outside an Apple Barrel Country Store & Cafe. Nearby resident Bridey Finnagen said the crash was loud enough to hear from down the road.
“I heard a loud bang. I came out my front door to see what was going on,” Finnagen told CNN affiliate WTEN.
“I saw a lot of people here at the Apple Barrel out in the parking lot. Then I heard screaming. Then I saw this large van, a very unusual looking vehicle, out here in Schoharie in the bushes and really wrecked, hit a tree.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the first responders who “worked through the night to help.”
“State police are working with federal and local authorities to investigate the crash, and I have directed State agencies to provide every resource necessary to aid in this investigation and determine what led to this tragedy,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”