For many, the heartache over Saturday’s limousine crash in Schoharie is giving way to anger as disturbing new details come to light.
The supersized limousine was never supposed to be on the road.
Instead, it barreled down a highway, blew a stop sign, crashed into a parked car and careened into a gully.
The vehicle was owned by Prestige Limousine which has had issues with its limousines in the past.
“That company and that vehicle have been under scrutiny of the DOT in the past,” said Major Robert Patnaude of the New York State Police.
Federal records show Prestige Limousine has had five inspections and four vehicles taken out of service during the past two years and police say, the driver didn’t even have the proper license to drive the limo.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was in New York City on Monday speaking about the crash.
“The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road,” said Cuomo.
Investigators will look at the limousine company, the limo itself, the highway where the accident took place, eyewitnesses and the people who may have been communicating with the victims over social media.
“We do know the victims were active on their cell phones prior to the crash, both texting and on social media,” said Patnaude.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s too early to say how fast the limousine was traveling or what caused it to run a stop sign but they say it doesn’t appear the driver applied the brakes.
“If an entire engine clock is moved back and crushed, there had to be a lot of force and energy with that crash,” said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB.
Some published reports say the passengers were texting about the limousine’s shoddy condition before the crash.
The victims originally booked a bus, but after it broke down, they boarded the supersized limousine.
Authorities didn’t address those reports in their news conference on Monday.
“We’ll determine if there’s any criminal culpability on the part of anyone, if there is, we’ll hold them accountable for it,” said Patnaude.
State Police have seized three additional vehicles from Prestige Limousine in the aftermath of Saturday’s crash.
They’ve also located the company’s owner, Shahed Hussain and tell us he is currently out of the country.