2018-10-10 14:40:03 UTC
The victims were friends and relatives — including four sisters from one family and newlyweds — who were on their way to celebrate a 30th birthday.
Flowers were placed at the scene of the fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y., on Sunday.CreditCreditHans Pennink/Associated Press
By Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jesse McKinley and Sandra E. Garcia
Oct. 9, 2018
The limousine accident in Schoharie, N.Y., on Saturday took 20 lives almost instantly. It devastated families, killing siblings and leaving young children without parents. The victims were friends and relatives — including four sisters from one family, and two brothers from another — who were traveling to a brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y., to celebrate a 30th birthday.
Their lives ended when the limousine they were traveling in barreled through an intersection that residents have described as dangerous. The vehicle crashed into an unoccupied car and two pedestrians nearby, killing them, before coming to a halt in a shallow ravine.
A roadside memorial.CreditNancie Battaglia for The New York Times
Investigators have said little about what they know about the accident, believed by federal officials to be the deadliest transportation accident in the United States since a 2009 plane crash near Buffalo that killed 50 people. About 1,000 people attended a vigil in a riverside park in Amsterdam, N.Y., on Monday to honor the victims.
And on Tuesday afternoon, the State Police released the names and ages of the victims.
A vigil on Monday night in Amsterdam, N.Y., to honor the victims.CreditKyle Adams for The New York Times
Here’s what we know about the 20 people killed on Saturday.
Savannah D. Bursese, 24
She was a 2015 graduate from Hartwick College, the school said in a statement. Ms. Bursese of Johnstown studied political science and business administration, and was on the volleyball team, the statement said.
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“Please know that our entire community stands with you in this time of grief, and they join me in cherishing Savannah’s memory,” Karen P. McGrath, the vice president for enrollment and student experience, said in the statement.
Rachael K. Cavosie, 30
Ms. Cavosie of Waterford, N.Y., was known as “Rach,” according to a Go Fund Me page that was set up to help her parents with funeral expenses.
“Three months apart in age, we grew up together,” Alyssa Cavosie, a cousin, wrote in a Facebook post. “She’s a soul that touched so many lives including mine. She gave me so much guidance and even though she was the younger cousin, I looked up to her and often sought her advice throughout my life.”
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Matthew W. Coons, 27
Mr. Coons of Johnstown was an Army veteran who worked as a personal trainer, according to his Facebook profile. He was Ms. Bursese’s boyfriend.
“R.I.P. to my cousin Matthew Coons, his girlfriend, Savannah, and everyone else that tragically lost their lives on that horrible day,” his cousin, Amber Richardson-Iannotti, wrote in a Facebook post.
Patrick K. Cushing, 31
Mr. Cushing of Troy, N.Y., worked for the technology group of the New York Senate.
In a statement, John J. Flanagan, the State Senate majority leader, said: “He was an extraordinary employee and a wonderful young man who was loved by all. He will be greatly missed by his Senate family.”
His brother, Justin, said in a statement, “He loved, hugged and cried with his friends and family like their problems were his.”
He was an avid photographer and played for Team USA Dodgeball. “Pat’s passion for the sport and always present laughter were infectious to those lucky enough to play alongside or against him,” Team USA Dodgeball wrote on Facebook.
Amanda Halse and Patrick CushingCreditvia Kevin Cushing
Mary E. Dyson, 33
Ms. Dyson of Watertown, N.Y., near Lake Ontario, was one of four sisters who died in the crash.
Robert J. Dyson, 34
He was an Army veteran, an engineer and a CrossFit coach, according to WWNYTV. He was Ms. Dyson’s husband.
Amanda D. Halse, 26
Ms. Halse of Troy was described as a “charismatic person” by her sister, Karina Halse, in an interview on “Good Morning America.” Ms. Halse said, “I’m so grateful that she was my sister, out of everyone else on this earth.”
Her sister had been dating Mr. Cushing for about a year, she said.
Brian Hough, 46
Mr. Hough was an assistant professor of geology at the State University of New York at Oswego since 2016. He taught courses in stratigraphy, oceanography, historical geology and paleontology. Katie Kent, identified as Professor Hough’s aunt, described him on Facebook as “an accomplished professor, an amazing husband, and daddy.”
Professor Brian HoughCreditJim Russell/State University of New York at Oswego
“In a short time, Brian became a major part of our campus family,” said Deborah F. Stanley, the president of SUNY Oswego. “He was 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.”
Mr. Hough was one of the two pedestrians killed. He was from Moravia, N.Y., a small town southwest of Syracuse.
Abigail M. Jackson, 34
Ms. Jackson was a teacher in the Amsterdam School District, according to The Times Union. Amsterdam is a small Mohawk River city, about 30 miles north of Schoharie. Ms. Jackson was Ms. Dyson’s sister and one of the four sisters who died in the crash.
Adam Jackson, 34
He was Ms. Jackson’s husband and a friend of Patrick Cushing, who was the godfather to one of the couple’s two daughters. A GoFundMe page has been created to help cover college expenses for the girls, Archer, 4, and 16-month-old Ellie.
Allison King, 31
Ms. King graduated in 2010 with a degree in speech communications. She was from Ballston Spa, N.Y., a small village north of Albany in Saratoga County, and attended SUNY Plattsburgh.
“This is shocking and tragic,” the university said in a statement posted on Facebook. “We grieve with their surviving family members and all who knew them.”
Ms. King was the sister of Ms. Dyson and Ms. Jackson.
Scott T. Lisinicchia, 53
Mr. Lisinicchia of Lake George, N.Y., was the driver of the limousine. A Go Fund Me page was set up to raise money for funeral expenses. “It hurts me to a core to have to bury my husband,” his wife, Kim, wrote on Facebook.
Richard Burke, a family spokesman and retired Mount Vernon police commissioner, said: “We express our condolences to everyone involved in the crash. It’s a tragedy. We’re waiting to see what caused this horrible crash. We have full confidence in the New York State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board investigation.”
Erin R. McGowan, 34
Ms. McGowan of Amsterdam worked at St. Mary’s Hospital and was studying for her master’s degree in special education, according to Rocco Semprivivo, her stepfather.
“She was a pretty outgoing, gregarious girl,” Mr. Semprivivo said.
One of Ms. McGowan’s best friends, Melissa Healey, 33, said: “She was always happy. She loved her dog, Remy.” Minutes before the crash, Ms. McGowan texted Ms. Healey and expressed concerns about the limousine.
“The motor is making everyone deaf,” she wrote. “When we get to brewery we will all b deaf.”
Shane T. McGowan, 30
He married Ms. McGowan in June at St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam, Mr. Semprivivo said.
Amanda Rivenburg, 29
Ms. Rivenburg was from Colonie, N.Y., a small town just outside Albany. “Amanda was loved by all of her co-workers,” said Steve Klein, the associate executive director of program services at Living Resources, where she worked with people with disabilities. “She was passionate about her work and everyone relied on her for guidance.”
Amanda RivenburgCreditCathi Butryn/Living Resources Corporation, via Associated Press
James Schnurr, 70
Mr. Schnurr was in the parking lot of a popular country store in Schoharie when he and his son-in-law, Mr. Hough, were struck by the limousine. He was from Kerhonkson, N.Y., a hamlet 30 miles west of Poughkeepsie.
Richard M. Steenburg 34
Mr. Steenburg of Johnstown, known as “Rich,” is survived by his daughter, 10, and stepson, 14.
Axel J. Steenburg, 29
He worked for GlobalFoundries, a foundry that produces semiconductors, according to Lester Andrews, his stepfather. His older brother, Rich, worked there, too.
Amy L. Steenburg, 29
Ms. Steenburg of Amsterdam was celebrating her 30th birthday with the group of friends. The limousine rental was under their name, Mr. Andrews said. She married Axel Steenburg over the summer.
Michael C. Ukaj, 34,
Mr. Ukaj of Johnstown served in Iraq as a Marine, according to The Times Union.
“Thank you for your combat service, and for being my son,” his mother, Mary Ashton, wrote in a Facebook post. “I love you forever. See you in heaven, baby!”
“Michael was a generous, caring young man, filled with energy and ambition,” a family friend wrote in the description of an online fund-raiser to help his parents with funeral expenses.