The limousine involved in the deadliest transport accident on Sunday in the United States for nearly a decade had failed inspection and the driver was not properly licensed, a top official has said.
Twenty people were killed when the SUV-style stretch vehicle careened out of control on Saturday in Schoharie, a town in New York state, killing all 18 occupants and two pedestrians. The passengers of the limo -- including four sisters, newlyweds and young couples -- were all celebrating a birthday party, according to US media.
The driver lacked the appropriate licence to operate that vehicle and the limousine last month failed a state inspection and was not supposed to be on the road, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
He said a federal government and state police investigation are ongoing, and the cause of the accident remains unclear. But the company that operated the limo has been served a cease and desist order until the investigation is concluded, Cuomo added.
"The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road," the governor said.
Police said the 2001 Ford Excursion failed to stop at an intersection and continued into a parking lot, ultimately crashing into a parked car. It was the deadliest transport accident in the United States since a Colgan Air Flight from Newark, New Jersey to Buffalo, New York crashed in February 2009, killing 49.
Saturday's tragedy unfolded outside the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe in Schoharie, a three-hour drive north of Manhattan.