NTSB: Schoharie crash deadliest in US since 2009

October 08, 2018 03:45 PM

The chairman of the NTSB says Saturday's crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people is "the deadliest transportation-related accident in the country since 2009."

New York State Police say a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was driving southwest on Route 30 when it failed to stop at the intersection with Route 30A. The limo sailed into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Store and Café where it crashed into a parked SUV before winding up in a gully.


State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore says all 18 people in the limo died. Two bystanders were also killed. The names of the victims are not being released yet, but Fiore confirmed that all of the victims were adults.

Speaking through tears, Valerie Abeling said her niece Erin Vertucci was among the victims, along with her newlywed husband, Shane McGowan. She said they were on their way to the birthday party of a friend when the crash occurred just before 2 p.m.. She said her own daughter had been invited along but couldn't go.

"She was a beautiful, sweet soul; he was, too," Abeling said.

The couple was married at a "beautiful wedding" in June at a venue in upstate New York, Abeling said. "They had everything going for them."

Vertucci was 34, McGowan 30. They met through Abeling's daughter. Vertucci, who grew up in Amsterdam, New York, was an administrative assistant at St. Mary's Healthcare in Amsterdam.

The NTSB has responded to the incident. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt says his investigators will be at the scene gathering evidence for the next several days.

"This is one of the biggest losses of life that we've seen in a long, long time," he said--the deadliest since February 2009 when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people.

This is not the first time an accident happened at this location. Large trucks were recently banned from coming down the hill into the intersection to help prevent crashes.

Names of Known Victims:

Abigail and Adam Jackson: Abigail was a teacher at Amsterdam who taught Special Education. Adam was the Deputy Commissioner of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. They leave behind two young daughters.

Mary and Rob Dyson were both engineers who worked in Watertown. They leave behind a 2-and-a-half-year-old son. 

Amy and Axel Steenburg. It was Amy's birthday the group was celebrating. They lived in Saratoga Springs and were just married in June. Axel worked at GlobalFoundries.

Allison King.

  *The four sisters killed were Abigail (King) Jackson; Mary (King) Dyson; Amy (King) Steenburg; Allison King. 

Rich Steenburg - Axel's brother who worked at GlobalFoundries.

Shane (30) and Erin McGowan (34) were also recently married. 

Amanda Rivenberg: Donna Floyd Rivenberg confirmed her daughter's death on Facebook. 

Matthew Coons of Fultonville

Amanda Halse (26) of Troy

Patrick Cushing, a New York State Senate employee from Amsterdam

WEB EXTRA: Schoharie Crash News Conference

MORE INFORMATION: Schoharie crash GoFundMe pages


WNYT Staff

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