More details have emerged in the horrific upstate New York stretch limousine crash that killed 20 people in the nation's deadliest transportation accident since 2009. Friends and relatives say the 17 passengers killed Saturday include Amy Steenburg, who was celebrating her 30th birthday, her husband, Axel, her three sisters, her husband's brother, and at least one of her brothers-in-law, Times Union reports. At least two sets of newlyweds were among the tight-knit group. They were on their way from Amsterdam, NY, where they all lived, to celebrate Amy's birthday at a brewery in Cooperstown when the limo crashed in Schoharie, killing all the passengers as well as the driver and two pedestrians.
Witnesses say the limo sped down a steep hill before losing control at the bottom, where two state highways intersect in a spot notorious for accidents, the New York Times reports. The limo crashed into an empty vehicle in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store. National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt says the "horrific" number of fatalities makes it the worst US transportation accident since a plane crash near Buffalo killed 50 people in 2009. Valeria Abeling tells the Washington Post that her niece, 34-year-old Erin McGowan, died in the accident, along with Shane, the husband she married in June. She says the group had rented a bus, but it broke down and the company sent the limo instead. Abeling says her daughter received a text from McGowan 20 minutes before the crash saying the vehicle arrived in "terrible condition." (Read more car accident stories.)