Limo on Way to Birthday Party Blows Stop Sign in Upstate NY; 20 Killed

 

A limousine carrying four sisters, other relatives and friends to a birthday celebration blew through a stop sign and slammed into a parked SUV outside a store in upstate New York, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians, officials and victims' relatives said Sunday.

The weekend crash was the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in nearly a decade, authorities said. The crash turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon to horror at a rural spot popular with tourists viewing the region's fall foliage. Relatives said the limousine was carrying the sisters and their friends to a 30th birthday celebration for the youngest.

"They were wonderful girls," said their aunt, Barbara Douglas, speaking with reporters Sunday. "They'd do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family."

The crash "sounded like an explosion," said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters. She had been in another car parked at the store, saw a body on the ground and heard people start screaming.

The store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times the limo was coming down a hill at "probably over 60 mph." In an email to The Associated Press, she complained that the junction where the crash occurred is accident-prone.

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