This past Saturday 20 people, including 4 sisters, were killed in upstate New York in the deadliest auto accident this country has seen since 2009. One cannot imagine the excruciating feeling of loss the parents of the 4 sisters killed in the horrific car accident are feeling. How could such a fun time go so terribly wrong? The group had gathered to celebrate a 30th birthday, and did the right thing by hiring a limousine to safely drive them to the 30th birthday party. Sadly, the group would never make it to the party.
Although the NTSB’s investigation is ongoing, here is what is known so far about this horrific loss:
-The limousine driver was improperly licensed. Laws regarding licensure for operating a limousine vary by state. Many states require that limo drivers possess a (CDL) – a Commercial Driver’s License – in addition to a non-commercial license.
-The Ford vehicle may have had mechanical problems. One of the passengers texted a relative that the limo was in “terrible condition” and that noise emanating from the engine was “deafening.” The limousine had failed four of the last five safety inspections, and likely should not have been on the road.
-The Ford Expedition limousine in question had been modified, post-production, to create additional seating. Perhaps an issue in the modification process hampered the safety of the vehicle.
-The intersection where the accident occurred was known to be dangerous. Another fatal accident had occurred at the same intersection in 2008. However, it is unknown at this point if the intersection was a factor in this accident, as the limousine ran a stop sign, was driving too fast, crossed an intersecting road, and struck a parked car and 2 bystanders before ending up in a ravine.
-Toxicology results of the limo driver are pending, and will determine whether the driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The parents, relatives and friends of these young victims are looking for answers. Who is responsible for the accident? Was the vehicle road-worthy? Was the driver qualified to be driving this vehicle? Was the driver impaired? Was the intersection poorly designed? It is likely that lawsuits will be filed, and several defendants will be named.
The family must wait for answers as the NTSB completes its investigation. Hopefully, this senseless tragedy will spur lawmakers to enforce the laws for limousines, their drivers and safety rules.
Thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of all of the victims.