ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN)— Next week marks four years since the tragic Schoharie limo crash took the lives of 20 people. To prevent similar tragedies from happening, a New York State Stretch Limousine Safety Task Force was created. That task force is due to issue the report on Saturday.
“It seems like the IG’s office and the Department of Transportation and DMV have been holding out some of the information that would help the task force with their final recommendations and report,” stated Assemblyman Chris Tague.
Republican Senator Jim Tedisco and Assemblyman Chris Tague believe the state’s limo safety task force should hold off on issuing the final report until the task force can review the Inspector General’s investigation into the Schoharie Limo Crash.
Both Republican lawmakers cited concerns of potential collusion. Back in 2020 The National Transportation Safety Board said the state DOT and DMV share blame in the crash along with the limo company, Prestige Limousine, since they did not remove the vehicle. The Commissioners of the DOT and DMV co-chair the Limo Safety Task Force.
“The two co-chairs are the two heads of the agencies who had been pointed out by the National Transportation Safety Board to be culpable in some ways,” said Tedisco. “Now we’re wondering, as they rush to say let’s get this report in, we say wait, wait, wait. Why would you want to give a report when the family members are asking for the IG‘s report on the activities of your agencies and your departments?”
Since Tague and Tedisco don’t have subpoena power, in a letter, they asked democratic members of the state transportation and investigation committees to get answers from the agency heads and members of the IG’s Office by holding a joint legislative hearing.
Assemblyman John McDonald, whose name was mentioned in the letter, told Political Reporter Jamie DeLine that his Assembly Committee on Oversight, Analysis, and Investigation does not have subpoena power.
In a statement, the IG’s Office said,” As with all investigations conducted by this office, our timing is dictated by where the facts lead, however long that may take. The families devastated by this tragedy deserve no less…”
David Brown, a member of the safety task force said the report is set to meet the deadline, despite not having the IG’s investigation report— something he’d ideally like to see.
“We could not wait for this any longer,” explained Brown. “Even though a lot of that information is very pertinent. We felt that the information released by the NTSB, the federal government, was sufficient enough to go by so the report should be done and delivered to the governor by October 1, 2022.”
While Brown couldn’t get into specifics about what the task force will be recommending to the governor and the legislature, he did mention some information.
“There’s a lot of safety measures that have been addressed,” said Brown. “Ages of vehicles that will be let out there, requirements for seatbelts, specifics again, I have to wait until the report gets out. It’s right now confidential.”