On Saturday, a limo crash in upstate New York that killed 20 people became the deadliest American crash in nine years. According to the New York Post, among the victims were four sisters celebrating the youngest one’s birthday along with three of their husbands.
The sisters’ aunt, Barbara Douglas, reported that “One just got married, and that’s what this was — her new husband was giving her a surprise birthday party.”
The tragedy took place in Schoharie, about 35 miles west of Albany, when an SUV stretch limo failed to stop at an intersection and went speeding into a parking lot, killing two pedestrians along the way. It eventually careened into a small ravine, killing all 18 of the passengers inside, including the driver.
Witness Jessica Kirby, 36, told the New York Times that the limo was allegedly speeding.
“That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60 mph.”
State Police First Deputy Superintendent Chris Fiore commented that the customized 2001 Ford Excursion “failed to stop” before crossing the T-bone intersection.
The four sisters were identified by their aunt as Abigail Jackson, Mary Dyson, Allison King, and Amy Steenburg and they ranged in age from 30 to 35. Douglas added, “It was just my youngest niece’s birthday. They were beautiful girls, full of life. They had their whole lives ahead of them. One of them had two children. One of them had one child.”
The sisters left behind two brothers and one more sister. One of their brothers, Tom King, 35, reported that they were “very tight,” writes the Post.
“They were the Four Musketeers. We all are what’s left. There was seven of us — five sisters and two brothers.”
King also added that the police showed up at their parents’ house Saturday night to tell them what had happened. He commented that his parents are “in shock” and that “there are still a lot of unanswered questions.”
Amy Steenberg, the youngest sister, was the most recent to get married. She married Axel Steenburg in June and her final Facebook post on Wednesday read, “I just wanted to say Axel Steenburg I love you more than words can say!”
Abigail Jackson and her husband Adam Jackson, who also died in the wreck, left behind two children, Archer, 4, and Elle, 16 months.
Chairman Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board reported that an investigation is taking place to uncover the cause of the crash, calling it “the most deadly transportation accident in the country since February 2009,” when an airplane crash killed 49 people aboard and one on the ground.
“Twenty fatalities is just horrific,” Sumwalt commented.