Twenty people were killed in Schoharie, New York, around 1:55 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, after a speeding limousine crashed into a parked vehicle near the crowded parking lot of the popular Apple Barrel Country Store.
Specific details about the deadly accident are still being unraveled, and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating for several days to determine the cause of the crash.
What is known is that the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was going down a hill on Route 30, and everyone inside of the vehicle, 17 passengers and one driver, died. Additionally, two pedestrians were struck and killed. All of the victims were adults.
The incident is said to be the deadliest transportation-related accident in the United States since February of 2009.
The Apple Barrel Country Store, which also has a restaurant inside, is quite popular in the fall when leaf-peepers frequent the area — even more so on Columbus Day weekend.
“Our hearts grieve for the victims’ families, our customers who tried to help, and our staff who did everything they could to comfort,” said the store’s owners on Facebook.
The business is open today and are accepting “hugs” and donations for the local emergency responders, “the heroes of our small community.”
BREAKING - State Police have confirmed 20 people died in a horrific limo crash in Schoharie County Saturdayhttps://t.co/mrmZErdHDs— Times Union (@timesunion) October 7, 2018
“We are doing our best to cope and grieve. We are a big family at the Apple Barrel, and part of the bigger family of Schoharie. We cope by being together. And that is why we are open.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commended the first responders who helped sort through the deadly incident.
“State police are working with federal and local authorities to investigate the crash, and I have directed State agencies to provide every resource necessary to aid in this investigation and determine what led to this tragedy,” he said in a statement, reported the Times Union.
“I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”
Breaking News: A limousine was involved in a crash in upstate New York that left 20 people dead. Local reports said it was carrying a wedding party. https://t.co/nR4G09gC7X— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 7, 2018
Lester Andrews of Rochester, New York, told the New York Times that his two stepsons, 29-year-old Axel Steenburg and 34-year-old Rich Steenburg, and daughter-in-law, Amy, were in the limousine at the time of the crash. Axel and his wife, who just married this past summer, had rented the vehicle for a bunch of people, but Andrews did not know their destination.
Schoharie is located about 160 miles north of New York City and only about 3,000 residents call the city home. Alan Tavenner, the town’s supervisor, told the New York Times that the accident occurred at a particularly “nasty” T-intersection.
The names of the 20 victims have yet to be officially released as next of kin were still being contacted.