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Old 10-07-2018, 03:43 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
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Tourist-spot crash in upstate New York kills 18 in wedding-party limo and 2 bystanders

Quote:
A limousine blew a stop sign at the end of a highway and plowed into a parked unoccupied SUV, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians in the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in almost a decade, officials said Sunday.

The collision turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon into chaos at an upstate New York spot popular with tourists taking in the fall foliage, with witnesses reporting bodies on the ground and broken tree limbs everywhere.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on state Route 30 in Schoharie, about 170 miles north of New York City, around 2 p.m. when it failed to stop at a T-junction with state Route 30A, State Police First Deputy Supt. Christopher Fiore said at a news conference in Latham, N.Y.
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-...007-story.html

This limo was not built this large in the factory--instead it was extended. One wonders if this was a factor in the large number of deaths.

Another factor:
Quote:
The store sits at the intersection of Route 30 and 30A, at the bottom of a steep hill. The speed limit in Route 30 headed south is 50 mph. There’s no indication there’s a stop sign until about 200 feet from the bottom. The southbound lane is covered in skid marks from cars having to stop suddenly.
https://www.timesunion.com/news/arti...h-13288015.php
  #2  
Old 10-07-2018, 04:05 PM
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Looking at on street view, it appears that it's only a dangerous intersection because idiots are allowed to drive. First you have to ignore one of these signs before barrelling through a large, red, eight-sided sign that says STOP at the intersection. Unless you're texting or watching Spongebob on your phone, it shouldn't be a problem. Also on street view, there aren't skid marks all over the south bound lane.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:56 PM
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I've been through the 30/30A intersection a few times in different directions. It's easy to be caught off guard coming down that hill, even in a passenger car with good brakes and a shorter stopping distance. Speed can creep up on you.

The road design is a factor, but I suspect the real problem will be that it was an after-market stretched Ford Excursion. I wouldn't be surprised if an investigation indicated that the brakes were still stock and not rated for that kind of weight, for instance.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:00 PM
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Birtyhday, not wedding, was my understanding.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:06 PM
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The article says the limo hit a vehicle in the parking lot of the country store.

So not only did the driver miss the stop sign, he left the road and would have had to swerve left somewhat.

I wonder if the driver might have been impaired.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:28 PM
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I read that only the driver was wearing a seatbelt. A witness said the limo was going around 60 coming down that hill.

This was a very close-knit group of 30-something family and friends. And yes, it was the birthday of one of the women.

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Old 10-07-2018, 11:32 PM
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Someone on another board who says they live in that town said that the restaurant refused to close, even when law enforcement recommended that they do so.

My guess is that the driver had some kind of medical incident (i.e. stroke or heart attack) and that's why he lost control of the vehicle. The autopsy will definitely look for this.
  #8  
Old 10-08-2018, 11:43 AM
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I read that only the driver was wearing a seatbelt. A witness said the limo was going around 60 coming down that hill.
I'm not surprised. A limo like that usually doesn't even have seat belts in the back. They are not required by law for buses or limos with a passenger capacity of 10 or more. It probably had what is called "perimeter seating" so almost all the passengers were sitting sideways to the direction of travel. In such cases, seat belts are probably of limited use anyway.

Limos like that are basically death traps, for a variety of reasons. In most states except California, they aren't even required to have doors, windows, or other exits that that can be opened from the inside in case of emergency. The California law was passed only in response to a horrific limo fire in 2013 that killed five women trapped inside.

Last edited by bibliophage; 10-08-2018 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:49 AM
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If they were on a wine tour, I would be wondering how many wineries they had already been to, and I would definitely check on the driver's blood alcohol content.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
I read that only the driver was wearing a seatbelt. A witness said the limo was going around 60 coming down that hill.
That would be my guess to account for the huge number of fatalities.
I dread to think of what would be happening in even a low speed collision with 18 unsecured passengers flying around.

Expect regulations on seat belts to come in very rapidly (and an eternal battle to get people in limos to wear them)
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:02 PM
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The limo had failed an inspection and wasn't supposed to be in use. Also, the driver did not have the necessary license.
  #12  
Old 10-08-2018, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Someone on another board who says they live in that town said that the restaurant refused to close, even when law enforcement recommended that they do so.

I recall reading about the incident that the restaurant management announced they'd be open and "the restaurant could use a hug".

The article I read also was headlined as a wedding party in the limo, but the text of the article barely made it clear that it was a group celebrating a birthday for one woman and two of the group were newlyweds. The article also mentioned that stretch limos which are "stretched" after purchase usually do not have side airbags in the added part of the limo.

Last edited by Monty; 10-08-2018 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:26 PM
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I'm interested to know why the vehicle failed inspection. I have access to it but probably shouldn't look as a mere curious party.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
I'm interested to know why the vehicle failed inspection. I have access to it but probably shouldn't look as a mere curious party.
From the previous article:
Quote:
Cuomo said the limousine was a "chopped vehicle," meaning it had been cut and elongated and needed federal certification that it had been extended in a way that is compliant with the law, which it did not have.
So it is possible that just the lack of federal certification is the reason it failed inspection.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:34 PM
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From the previous article:


So it is possible that just the lack of federal certification is the reason it failed inspection.
I saw that and thought it was a different issue from the failed inspection. I assumed they were referring to a failed roadside inspection. This could be what he meant, though.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:42 PM
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This is what I assumed they were referring to:

"US Department of Transportation records show Prestige Limousine Chauffeur Service has two drivers and three vehicles. Its vehicles were inspected five times in the last two years, and the company has had four vehicles taken out of service."

I figured it had been placed out of service during one of those.

That's a pretty high OOS rate for a limo company.


https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/08/us/ne...ash/index.html
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:02 PM
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One of the partiers texted a friend that the limo was in awful shape and the motor noise was deafening.

I'm wondering if the driver and some/all of the passengers were dead of carbon monoxide even before the crash. The loud sound could have been a faulty exhaust(?) I find it amazing that no one survived (the one person alive at the scene was DOA at hospital).

Is CO2 measurable in an autopsy?
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:16 PM
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I think you mean is CO (carbon monoxide) measurable, and I think, based on years of watching police procedurals, the answer is yes.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:17 PM
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I think you mean is CO (carbon monoxide) measurable, and I think, based on years of watching police procedurals, the answer is yes.
Whoops, yes: CO
  #20  
Old 10-08-2018, 05:23 PM
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I think you mean is CO (carbon monoxide) measurable, and I think, based on years of watching police procedurals, the answer is yes.
And isn't the body bright pink? They'd know it was likely just from a visual inspection.
  #21  
Old 10-08-2018, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jennshark View Post
One of the partiers texted a friend that the limo was in awful shape and the motor noise was deafening.

I'm wondering if the driver and some/all of the passengers were dead of carbon monoxide even before the crash. The loud sound could have been a faulty exhaust(?) I find it amazing that no one survived (the one person alive at the scene was DOA at hospital).

Is CO2 measurable in an autopsy?
Interesting take. What if that knocked out the driver, too? Just a bunch of unconscious people flying down the road. That's fucked up.
  #22  
Old 10-08-2018, 05:28 PM
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Owner guy spy for FBI.
  #23  
Old 10-08-2018, 05:36 PM
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Interesting take. What if that knocked out the driver, too? Just a bunch of unconscious people flying down the road. That's fucked up.
I read that NTSB investigators haven't (yet) found skid marks. This, of course, could point to several things: lost brakes, driver heart attack, and so on. I was thinking about the macabre plane crash where everyone onboard was dead from oxygen malfunction but the plane flew itself on auto pilot for a few hours.

I think CO poisoning probably violates "think horses, not zebras," but it's interesting to think about.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:38 PM
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The plot thickens like concrete.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:01 PM
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Saddest part of this story are the kids of these couples that died in the crash are all orphaned.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:31 PM
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And isn't the body bright pink?
Lips, cherry red; fingers bluish.


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Interesting take. What if that knocked out the driver, too? Just a bunch of unconscious people flying down the road. That's fucked up.
No way. Approx a mile+ up the road is an almost 90° right hand turn, plus a few bends in the road between that turn & the crash intersection. If the driver had been incapacitated for any length of time, they would have crashed earlier.


I would not at all be surprised if it's a design flaw in the limo design & build, meaning the base vehicle, a Ford Excursion (?) weighs 7000± lbs; it's designed to carry 8 passengers & gear/luggage, at a rough weight of 1600 lbs (180 lbs person + 20 lbs luggage/gear). The brakes & suspension are designed for this amount of weight. When they stretched it, the additional body elements added weight, along with an additional 10 passengers it would be close to adding an additional 2 tons. Were the brakes & suspension beefed up to handle a 50%+ increase in weight? Assuming they determine the driver was conscious before the stop & got on the brakes; the vehicle quite possibly couldn't handle a panic stop from 60mph in time. At this time, that's just a WAG; I'm sure more will come out from the NTSB investigation.
  #27  
Old 10-08-2018, 07:14 PM
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Specifically, the owner was a DMV clerk convicted of taking bribes to let people cheat on driving tests (and he became an FBI informant to avoid being deported to Pakistan). I'm guessing that compliance was not a high priority at his limo company, and I almost wonder if he was hiring some of his old clients as drivers. Pakistan may start to look pretty good in hindsight.
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:16 PM
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I wonder how much insurance the limo company held. Because I can't imagine it's enough.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:18 PM
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Pakistan may start to look pretty good in hindsight.
I'm guessing this guy won't be seen back here again. At least not with his current identity.

Scumbag.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:37 PM
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I wonder how much insurance the limo company held. Because I can't imagine it's enough.
If they had the minimum required, it was $5,000,000. That will most certainly not be enough.
  #31  
Old 10-08-2018, 08:46 PM
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If they were on a wine tour, I would be wondering how many wineries they had already been to, and I would definitely check on the driver's blood alcohol content.
I thought one rule about being a hired driver is that you are not considered a party guest.

I'm also pretty sure that testing blood gases is a routine part of an autopsy. (Calling Qadgop!) That anyone besides the driver may have been unconscious or even dead before the vehicle went off the road had not occurred to me until I read this thread.
  #32  
Old 10-08-2018, 09:36 PM
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My neighbor growing up was one of the two pedestrians killed. His brother died of cancer two years ago.

His parents and youngest brother must be going through hell right now. Such a damn tragedy.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:34 PM
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As I understand it, you stretch a vehicle just to accommodate a bigger payload. That means it's harder to steer, harder to brake, and original safety features might just disappear (remember the one that caught fire?) Therefore, you drive a stretched at practically bicycle speed because, heaven knows, you didn't buy or rent one for speed.
  #34  
Old 10-08-2018, 10:41 PM
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My neighbor growing up was one of the two pedestrians killed. His brother died of cancer two years ago.

His parents and youngest brother must be going through hell right now. Such a damn tragedy.
Oh shit. I'm so very sorry for your loss. What are the chances that one of us here would know the victims?

As to the wreck, wasn't the limo a replacement for a 21-pax that broke down? Not hard to imagine the driver was trying to make up lost time. Was the driver familiar with the area? AIUI, that downhill stretch to the stop sign has been treacherous for other commercial vehicles in the area, and consequently drivers try to be cautious when approaching it.

In a vehicle that we can infer was poorly maintained, due to the number of vehicles pulled out of service in the brief number of years cited in the articles upthread, with a driver trying to make time, it's easy to imagine he placed the vehicle in a position where even a lightly loaded truck would have problems coming to a stop. This one had 17 passengers, and it's doubtful the brakes or suspension were adequately upgraded to handle the limo conversion or the expected extra loads.

As to insurance or other remedies that the victims' families can pursue, I will bet quite a bit that this guy---the owner, or anyone else involved with the operations of the business---is going to be as judgement proof as can be, even if the court pierces and goes behind whichever corporate entity was ostensibly responsible for the business. I'd expect to see the minimum level of coverage that the law required, and they may not have been making the payments to assure that.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 10-08-2018 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:47 PM
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My neighbor growing up was one of the two pedestrians killed. His brother died of cancer two years ago.

His parents and youngest brother must be going through hell right now. Such a damn tragedy.


Just curious, if you know: Was he walking along the road, or were they headed to or from the country store? I sure hope the driver wasn't aiming at them. You just never know.
  #36  
Old 10-08-2018, 10:49 PM
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What are the chances that one of us here would know the victims?
Apparently the odds are amazing.

I'm not trying to one-up Airman Doors. But several of the people who were killed were members of my family. The four sisters who died are my second cousins.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:55 PM
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Apparently the odds are amazing.

I'm not trying to one-up Airman Doors. But several of the people who were killed were members of my family. The four sisters who died are my second cousins.
(((((Little Nemo)))))
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:07 PM
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I sure hope the driver wasn't aiming at them. You just never know.
What the heck? Why would you say this?
  #39  
Old 10-09-2018, 01:13 AM
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I haven't heard seat belts mentioned in the news.

Anyone heard if they were installed and used?

Car safety has improved so much in the past decades. Many previously fatal crashes are survivable today, sometimes with minimal injuries.

It's very hard to comprehend that every person in that limo died.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-09-2018 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:43 AM
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There's a dangerous intersection that I hated in my hometown.

It's a 2 lane country road. Speed limit 40mph. You climb a steep hill and just as you top it, there's a 4 way stop sign about 30 ft ahead.

If someone isn't familiar with that road they are screwed. You're already accelerating to climb that hill. I think there's a stop sign ahead warning but it's easy to miss.

I moved away and many years later topped that hill and absolutely couldn't stop. Thank goodness no one was in that intersection. It scared the crap out of me.

Seems like most towns have at least one badly designed intersection that is a hazard to everyone.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-09-2018 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:23 AM
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I read that NTSB investigators haven't (yet) found skid marks. This, of course, could point to several things: lost brakes, driver heart attack, and so on.
It could also point to the limo having anti-lock brakes.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:51 AM
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I haven't heard seat belts mentioned in the news.

Anyone heard if they were installed and used?
Limos aren't required to have seat belts for all pax, & also seating is usually 'in the round', meaning everyone faces the middle. Seatbelts aren't designed for people sitting sideways to the normal direction of travel.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:05 AM
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I haven't heard seat belts mentioned in the news.

Anyone heard if they were installed and used?
Quoting from this NPR story:

Quote:
New York authorities would not comment on whether any of the passengers killed in Saturday's accident were wearing seat belts. Under state law, the limo's driver would have been required to wear one as a front-seat passenger, while the passengers in the back would not. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt told The Associated Press that the 19-seat vehicle had "at least some" seat belts.
Quote:
"When we look at limousines and stretch limos, we see a really Frankenstein system of cars that potentially are cut up and put back together with parts and pieces that were not original to them," says Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the nonprofit National Safety Council and former chair of the NTSB. "And additionally, some things may be taken off — things like air bags or seat belts."
  #44  
Old 10-09-2018, 10:11 AM
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I thought one rule about being a hired driver is that you are not considered a party guest.
Other rules are that the car is legal to be on the road, and that the driver be properly licensed. If the driver had imbibed a bit during the tour I wouldn't be totally shocked.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:19 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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If they were on a wine tour, I would be wondering how many wineries they had already been to, and I would definitely check on the driver's blood alcohol content.
It wasn't a wine tour. Instead they had reservations to visit a brewery, and I believe the accident happened on the way there. As for seat belts, even if the vehicle had them, the party atmosphere in such circumstances means that people aren't often wearing them.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:05 PM
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I've only been in a limo a few times, but in each case, none of us passengers wore seat belts. However, the limo went at appropriate speeds for carrying a bunch of people who weren't wearing belts, but were riding a limo as part of a social occasion and hanging out together, rather than just a way to get from Point A to Point B.

Which seems to be the same idea as a group of 18 people on their way to a birthday party. Why was the limo going 60 mph in the first place? Seems way too fast for some rural road, especially with the reasonable expectation that nobody in back would be wearing seat belts.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:13 PM
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Well, if it was going 60 miles an hour. An observer on the ground watching an accident will tend to overstate the speed of a vehicle, often by a lot.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:17 PM
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It wasn't a wine tour. Instead they had reservations to visit a brewery, and I believe the accident happened on the way there. As for seat belts, even if the vehicle had them, the party atmosphere in such circumstances means that people aren't often wearing them.
What? The initial stories that first came out were incorrect? I highly doubt that to be possible!

  #49  
Old 10-09-2018, 12:51 PM
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What? The initial stories that first came out were incorrect? I highly doubt that to be possible!

I actually never saw a story that said they were on a wine tour until you mentioned it in this thread. All the stories I saw said they were going to visit a brewery or didn't mention the destination - but some did mention a 2015(?) accident in Long Island which did involve people on a winery tour.


ETA - The AP story linked in the OP didn't mention this group's destination but did mention the 2015 incident

Quote:
But safety issues on such vehicles have arisen before, most notably after a wreck on Long Island in July 2015 in which four women on a winery tour were killed

Last edited by doreen; 10-09-2018 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:52 PM
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Apparently the odds are amazing.

I'm not trying to one-up Airman Doors. But several of the people who were killed were members of my family. The four sisters who died are my second cousins.
I am really sorry to hear about this. I can't imagine what you and your family are going through. I wish you and yours peace through this very difficult time, and I hope that you all get some justice from those responsible for this needless tragedy.

You're right, those are amazing odds. Were you close to your second cousins? (I doubt I could identify mine in a lineup, but all families are different.)
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