20 killed in stretch limo crash

A packed stretch limo blew a stop sign and crashed in upstate New York on Sunday, killing all 18 people in the car and 2 pedestrians. It's the worst U.S. road accident in a decade, reports the AP.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie, about 170 miles north of New York City, when it failed to stop at 2 p.m. Saturday at a T-junction with state Route 30A, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore said at a news conference in Latham, New York.

It went across the road and hit an unoccupied SUV parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing the limousine driver, the 17 passengers, and two people outside the vehicle.

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.

Authorities "didn't comment on the limo's speed, or whether the limo occupants were wearing seat belts." The answers will be fast and no, but it's also true that many stretch limos are chopshop deathtraps that cannot be made safe at any speed or at any cost.

ABC News:

The company which operated the vehicle, Prestige Limousine, has had vehicles inspected five times in the past five years and had four vehicles taken out of service, according to Department of Transportation records. The company had not had any crashes over the last two years, records show.