20 Dead After Limousine, Vehicle Crash in New York
At least 20 people were killed Saturday after a limousine, reportedly carrying a wedding party, and another vehicle crashed at an intersection in upstate New York, police said on Sunday.
Of the people killed, 18 were in the limousine and two were bystanders, a person with knowledge of the investigation into a crash told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to discuss the preliminary information publicly and spoke Sunday on the condition of anonymity.
Local reports indicated the limousine was carrying a wedding party, but officials would not confirm further details until the news conference scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday. The victims' names were not released.
Police received 911 calls of a two-vehicle collision just before 2 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of State Route 30 and 30A in Schoharie, a town about 43 miles west of Albany, police said. The National Transportation Safety Board — who said on Sunday it was sending a “go-team” to the crash site — confirmed one of the vehicles was a limousine.
“What we can tell you at this point is that it is a 2 vehicle, multi fatalities as a result of this crash. The investigation is very preliminary it’s in its infancy stages,” New York State Police Capt. Richard O’Brien said in a Saturday night news conference.
The crash occurred near Apple Barrel Country Store, a place popular with tourists during fall. The store's parking lot was filled with cars and people at the time of the crash when the limousine came speeding down a hill, the Times Union of Albany reported.
Bridey Finnagen, who lives near the crash site, told WTEN she heard a loud bang followed by screaming.
“I heard a loud bang I came out my front door to see what was going on,” Finnagen told the station. “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.”
Emergency crews from the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office, New York state police and the Red Cross arrived at the scene.
“The first responders broke some windows to try to get people out. I believe the jaws of life were here on the side of one of the fire trucks,” Finnagen recalled.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Apple Barrel released a statement Saturday on its Facebook page thanking first responders. The store said it will be open on Sunday.
“As you may be aware, there was a horrific accident in front of our business today [Saturday]. First, we want to thank all of the emergency services that responded. We are so thankful for all of you,” the store said, adding that their “hearts and prayers go out to everyone” involved in the fatal crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.