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Limo accident kills 20 in New York; deadliest crash since 2009 [Update]

by Justin King

The modified Ford Excursion reportedly blew through a stop sign and struck a stationary vehicle.

[Updated with New York Governor statement] A horrific limousine accident near Albany, New York, has claimed 20 lives, marking the deadliest US transportation accident in nearly a decade.

The stretched 2001 Ford Excursion was reportedly traveling down a hill when it blew through a stop sign, struck a stationary vehicle and crashed into an overgrown ravine.

The crash killed all 17 passengers in the back of the limo, the driver and two pedestrians. The victims include four sisters, two brothers and three couples, according to .

Local residents say the T-intersection in the small town of Schoharie, New York, is notoriously dangerous. A report claims one of the victims had sent a text message expressing concerns about the "terrible condition" of the limo. which was a stand-in for the bus they had hired that had broken down.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a go-team to launch an investigation into the accident. The agency said the crash is the deadliest since 2009 when 49 people died in a Buffalo plane crash.

Update: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a statement claiming the limo had recently failed inspection and "the owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road." The driver also did not have a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement that would have been required to operate a limousine.

It is still unclear if the driver or vehicle condition are the primary cause of the accident. The driver apparently blew through the stop sign, but reports suggest heavy trucks with braking problems have also failed to stop at the intersection because the intersection is at the bottom of a steep hill.