The death of 20 in a crash that reputably was avoidable makes it all the more tragic. According to multiple sources, the limousine involved in the crash in upstate New York had failed a state inspection and was not supposed to be on the road. The company had five inspections in recent years and had three of its vehicles cited and pulled from service. The 53-year-old driver also did not have proper licensing to operate the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine. The group of 18 in the limo included many friends and family, counting four sisters and two brothers. The group was on a wine-tasting and brewery tour as part of a birthday celebration.
A steep hill and a stop sign
The party was uneasy about the quality of the limousine before the accident, sending texts to friends. Unfortunately, the tour proceeded and the vehicle went down a steep hill and through a stop sign at an estimated 60 miles per hour. The car then carried on across the road into a store parking lot where it killed two pedestrians and crashed into a parked car. The T-junction on a rural highway was already a source of safety complaints because of other incidents, including at least two involving semi-trucks, and there were plans to turn it into a roundabout.
Limousines often do not meet safety standards
Limousines built by manufacturers must meet a stringent array of safety standards. A grand jury has already found that after-market modified vehicles like stretch limousines often to do not meet them, typically not employing side-impact airbags, safety exits, and reinforced structural protection. Often they are too cumbersome to maneuver in tight spaces and some are prone to roll over because they do not have appropriate suspension for the modified size and weight.
Blame to go around
This is the most deadly motor vehicle accident since a bus carrying elderly nursing home patients caught fire and killed 23. Along with the obvious missteps by the limousine company on a number of fronts, the state and local authorities could face lawsuits as well. It all adds up to a tragic and unnecessary conclusion to what was planned to be a fun day with friends and family.