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09 October 2018, 08:57 | Darnell Patrick
20 dead after wedding limo crashes in New York
The crash "sounded like an explosion", said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters.
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Federal transportation records show Prestige is owned by Shahed Hussain, who worked as an informant for the FBI after the September 11 attacks, infiltrating Muslim groups by posing as a terrorist sympathizer in at least three investigations. In fact, all three of Prestige Limousine's vehicles had violations when they were inspected last month, records show.
The New Yorkintersection where a limousine crashed, killing 18 people headed to a birthday party, is notoriously known as a unsafe intersection that officials have attempted to fix without success, a nearby store owner and officials said.
A limousine that crashed and killed 20 people had failed an inspection and should not have been on the road, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says.
Prestige, which reportedly uses the names Hasy Limousine and Saratoga Luxury Limousines, has been hit with a cease-and-desist order that will halt operations during the ongoing investigation.
Hussain also served as an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant in the controversial case of the Newburgh Four.
He said a federal government and state police investigation are ongoing, and the cause of the accident remains unclear. Most stretch limos are made by cutting a normal auto or SUV in half, then welding in plates to serve as a longer frame and roof between the halves. "Whether or not it would have made a difference here. remains to be seen", Sumwalt said. There are seat belts in the back - they're required to be - but you're not required to wear them.
But officials already saw some red flags, Cuomo said: The driver didn't have the necessary commercial license, and the vehicle failed a state inspection that examined such things as the chassis, suspension and brakes.
Authorities continue to investigate the crash site today and have yet to announce any factors that may have contributing to the crash.
One victim's relative said the hired limo was a replacement for "some kind of bus" that was supposed to take the group on a tour of wineries and breweries for Amy's 30th birthday party. She started on my softball team when she was seven years old.
McGowan's aunt Valerie Abelingtold CNN her niece had texted her friend saying that the company had sent the stretch limousine to replace a vehicle that had broken down.
The birthday party guests were riding in a 2001 Ford Expedition that had been converted into a limousine.
Prestige Limousine expressed condolences to relatives of Saturday's crash in Schoharie (skoh-HAYR'-ee).
There, it struck a parked SUV and at least two pedestrians, before becoming lodged in a ditch at the side of the road, police said.
The federal agency doesn't' know the limo's speed at this point at the time of the crash, Sumwalt said.
Two newlywed couples and four sisters - ranging in age from 30 to 35 - are among the 20 people who died in Saturday's collision in NY state. Two bystanders also were killed.
The couple was married at a "beautiful wedding" in June at a venue in upstate New York, Abeling said. "This is the most deadly transportation accident or crash that we've seen on USA soil since February of 2009".
Authorities are still notifying the families of victims and declined to release the victims' names, according to Fiore.
Thousands gathered along the Mohawk River in Amsterdam, New York, for a candlelight vigil to remember the 20 victims of a limousine crash that has left a devastated community with too many questions.
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