SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — A crash involving a limousine at an upstate New York tourist spot killed 20 people, officials said Sunday.
State police said at a news conference that the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine had failed to stop at an intersection Saturday before plowing into an unoccupied sport-utility vehicle in a parking lot across the way.
The aunt of one of the victims in the limousine crash says the vehicle was on its way to a birthday celebration.
Valerie Abeling says newlyweds Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan were among those killed. She says Vertucci was 34 and McGowan was 30. Abeling says her daughter had been invited along but was unable to go. She says the family has not learned much about the circumstances of the crash.
Two pedestrians in the parking lot were also struck and died. The other 18 victims in Saturday’s crash were in the limousine. Authorities say all the occupants died.
Local officials told the Times Union of Albany that the crash had killed bystanders at the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie, about 170 miles north of New York City.
The Apple Barrel Country Store is a popular stop for tourists on fall foliage trips.
Customers in the parking lot were killed when they were hit by the limo coming down a hill on state Route 30 at “probably over 60 mph,” the store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, the store thanked emergency responders for their actions. The store posted Sunday that it was open “and could use your hugs.”
Witnesses described chaos, with a massive turnout of ambulances and other responders.
“I heard some screaming. It looked serious because people were running back and forth,” Bridey Finegan of Schoharie told WNYT NewsChannel 13.
Authorities didn’t release names of victims or other specifics, but state police set up a hotline for family members. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
This story has been updated to include additional details about the crash.
HuffPost reporter Hayley Miller also contributed reporting.