SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) – The supersized limousine that crashed and killed 20 people outside a country store failed a safety inspection last month and shouldn’t have been on the road, and the driver wasn’t properly licensed, New York’s governor said Monday.
The state moved to shut down the owner, Prestige Limousine, as state and federal authorities investigated the cause of Saturday’s wreck in Schoharie.
The crash about 170 miles north of New York City came three years after another deadly stretch-limo wreck in New York state spurred calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to examine such vehicles’ safety. It was not clear whether the state took any steps to do so.
As victims’ relatives tried to come to grips with the tragedy that happened as a group of friends and family were on their way to a 30th birthday celebration, authorities had yet to say how fast the limo was going, whether its occupants wore seat belts or what caused the vehicle to run a stop sign.
Investigators were conducting autopsies, including on the driver, to see if drugs or alcohol were factors, and the National Transportation Safety Board was also looking into whether the limo had any mechanical problems.
But officials already saw some red flags, Cuomo said: The driver didn’t have the necessary commercial license, the limo had been cut apart and lengthened in a way Cuomo said violated federal law, and the vehicle failed a state inspection that examined