The stepson of the driver who was at the wheel when a limo careened off the road and into a parked car over the weekend, killing 20, has spoken out about his stepdad’s concerned comments regarding the vehicle’s poor condition.
All 18 passengers, including the driver, were killed Saturday when the limo went speeding down a hill and through a stoplight in Upstate New York, striking and killing two pedestrians before coming to rest in a ditch.
The driver, 53-year-old Scott Lisinicchia, reportedly told his stepson Cicero Richards that the vehicles he drove “were junk,” according to the New York Daily News.
“The last time I talked to him was 6 o’clock in the morning before that [the crash] happened,” Richards said. “We were talking and chatting and stuff and he said he didn’t really want to do the job.”
The company, Prestige Limousine, was owned by Shahed Hussain, a former criminal and FBI informant.
In recent years, four out of five of the company-owned vehicles had been removed from service after failing safety testing.
Laken Prosser, a local resident who said she used to clean the vehicles used by the firm, noted that the cars were kept terrible and unroadworthy condition.
“When they drove out of here you would hear a lot of squealing from the brakes,” she told WABC-TV. “You’d hear a lot of noises. On one of them the motor was knocking, and there were two that were broken down back there.”
“There were like four or five limos. They were junky, very very junky,” Prosser added, according to the Daily Mail. “I know they let people drink alcohol and do drugs in them because I found drugs in them.”
A law firm representing the company issued a statement following the tragic accident:
“Prestige Limousine extends its deepest condolences to the family members and friends of those who tragically lost their lives on Saturday We are performing a detailed internal investigation to determine the cause of the accident and the steps we can take in order to prevent future accidents. We have voluntarily taken our fleet of vehicles off of the road during the investigation. We have already met with State and Federal investigators, and plan to do so again, as it is our goal to provide answers as quickly as possible.”
Over 2,500 people came together for an emotional candle-lit vigil Monday in the small town of Amsterdam, New York.
The Mohawk Valley Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam is packed with hundreds of people attending tonight’s candle light vigil to remember the 20 people who died in Saturday’s limousine crash in Schoharie. pic.twitter.com/h58gpAxaWO
— Jamie DeLine (@JamieDeLineNews) October 8, 2018
“There is so much pain here, in a very small part of the world,” U.S. Rep Paul Tonko said, according to the Times Union. “So much pain.”
The National Transportation Safety Board, which has launched an investigation into the accident, noted during a press conference Sunday that the crash was the “most deadly transportation accident” since 2009, when 50 people perished during the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in Buffalo.
Eyewitnesses described the horror of the impact, which occurred just outside Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie.
“I heard this loud bang, I saw a lot of people here at the Apple Barrel [store and cafe] out in the parking lot,” said local resident Bridey Finnagen, according to the BBC. “Then I heard screaming.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help support two children who have been orphaned after both their parents were killed Saturday in a devastating car accident.
Abby and Adam Jackson were among 20 people who lost their lives when the SUV limousine careened through a stop sign and plowed into a parked vehicle in upstate New York Saturday night. They leave behind their children, Archer, 4, and Elle, 16 months.
“Adam and Abby were amazing parents to these girls and taken much too soon,” the GoFundMe page reads. “While families will step in and provide loving care for these girls, there will be expenses that we can help with during this time when we otherwise feel so helpless.”
The campaign was set up by family friend, Sarah Maltzman. Maltzman noted that “Elle and Archer’s grandparents will have sole withdrawal rights” for all the funds raised, and “can use the money for their education or other needs as the children grow up without their parents.”
As of Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe campaign had raised over $94,000, exceeding its target of $75,000.