New, York, USA (Global News) – Four sisters from one family, a pair of brothers from another family, and two pairs of newlyweds are among the 20 people killed after a limo crashed in upstate New York on Saturday.
The tragedy is being called one of the worst in New York history. Family members said the limo was heading to a 30th birthday party. All 18 passengers in the limo, along with two pedestrians were killed.
The group in the limo was called a “tight-knit” group.
“You just can’t wrap your head around such a tragedy where you have four of your daughters die,” Barbara Douglas, aunt of the four sisters killed, said.
“They were wonderful girls, they’d do anything for you, and they were very close to each other, they loved their parents, one has two little children and one has one child.”
Over 1,000 people attended a vigil for the victims Monday night in Amsterdam, N.Y., which is about 40 kilometres north of the where the crash occurred in Schoharie.
More details about the victims are coming out.
Amy, Axel and Rich Steenburg
Douglas said the group was out celebrating Amy’s birthday. Amy was the youngest of the four sisters in the crash.
Amy, a nurse, and Axel were married in June and travelled extensively in recent months, according to their Facebook pages.
In her final Facebook post, Amy wrote that she loved her husband “more than words can say.”
Axel’s brother, Rich, was also in the limo during the crash.
The New York Times reported that he was survived by a 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson.
Abigail and Adam Jackson
Abigail “Abby” was one of the four sisters killed, along with her husband Adam. Abby was a teacher at the Greater Amsterdam School District.
The pair left behind two daughters under five years old.
“Adam and Abby were amazing parents to these girls and taken much too soon,” Sarah Maltzman, a friend of the couple, wrote on a Gofundme page set up for the two daughters.
Mary and Rob Dyson
Mary was another one of the four sisters killed in the crash, along with her husband Rob. They lived in Watertown, N.Y. Mary was an army veteran and engineer with Upstate Construction Services.
She was also a coach at Star Spangled Crossfit. In a post, the gym said she would be “cheering us on and laughing at some of us!”
The last of the four sisters killed in the crash was Allison King. A Facebook fundraiser for the King family has raised over $225,000.
Shane and Erin Vertucci McGowan
Erin and Shane were married just a few months ago in upstate New York.
“They had everything going for them,” Erin’s aunt, Valerie Abeling, said. “She was a beautiful, sweet soul. He was, too. They were very sweet.”
“You’re always hoping you find the love of your life, it’s what you hope and wish and dream for, and they found each other,” Erin McGowan’s uncle, Anthony Vertucci, told the Times Union.
Before the crash, Erin texted a friend that the limousine appeared to have engine trouble, the New York Times reported.
Scott Lisinicchia was identified as the driver of the limo by his wife on Facebook.
“Words can not express the grief and sorrow that we, his family and friends are experiencing,” Thea Broadus Griggs wrote on a fundraising page for Lisincchia’s funeral expenses.
Lisinicchia’s twin brother, Keith, said he was an experienced and conscientious driver who was properly licensed, amid concerns about the limo company, Prestige Limousine. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters that an inspection of the limo turned up several violations and that the limo wasn’t properly licenced.
“I know that he always kept his license up. I mean it was a CDL (commercial driver license) license,” Keith Lisinicchia told WRGB TV in Albany, N.Y. “I know that he always made sure that it was valid and was in order.”
Amanda Halse and Partick Cushing
Amanda Halse, an artist, and her boyfriend, Patrick Cushing,who worked with the U.S. Senate’s technology service unit, were killed in the incident.
Cushing also played for the U.S. dodgeball team; officials called him a leader and he was “one of the most exciting and entertaining players to watch.”
“Patrick Cushing wore the Stars and Stripes with pride. He represented the very best of America and the sport of dodgeball,” a Facebook post about him.
Halse was remembered as a spontaneous, fun person.
“My big sister was so great and she was so wonderful. She was such a spontaneous person and she did whatever she could to have fun with anyone and everyone around her,” Karina Halse told CNN.
Amanda Rivenburg worked at Living Resources, a non-profit for people with disabilities.
“Amanda was loved by all of her co-workers,” said Steve Klein, associate executive director of program services at the company. “She was passionate about her work and everyone relied on her for guidance.”
Matthew Coons and Savannah Devonne
“He had a huge heart, a golden heart,” his aunt, Suzanne Douglass, told the Associated Press. “He made you laugh so hard until you cried.”
She is survived by her parents and her three siblings.
“Michael was a generous, caring young man, filled with energy and ambition. He will be missed deeply by all who knew him,” family friend Christine Armstrong wrote on Facebook.
Brian Hough and James Schnur
The two pedestrians killed in the crash were Brian Hough, 46, and his father-in-law James Schnurr, 71. Hough was an assistant professor of geology at the university in Oswego.
SUNY Oswego president, Deborah Stanley, called Hough “a dedicated faculty member who inspired his students to learn and understand at a deep level, and whose contributions were often sought by his colleagues.”
— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters
Source: Global News