The news of a rental limousine accident that killed 20 people has shaken New York state and the rest of the nation.
The accident occurred on a recent Saturday afternoon when a group of family members and close friends of a young woman celebrating her upcoming 30th birthday were traveling in the limo in upstate New York, headed for a fun day at a brewery in the scenic town of Cooperstown. They had left nothing to chance, hiring a car and driver so no one would be driving after an afternoon of beer tasting.
The birthday girl and her three sisters, plus three of their husbands, piled into the limo with their friends. The limousine, a 2001 Ford Excursion, ran through a stop sign and rammed into a parked SUV in Schoharie, New York. Killed were the 17 partygoers, the limo driver and two pedestrians who were hit by the SUV as it was forcibly moved by the limo.
New York state police arrested the 28-year-old son of the limo company owner and charged him with criminally negligent homicide. He is alleged to have known that the driver was hired despite not having an appropriate driver's license. He also is alleged to have known or should have known that an inspection showed that the vehicle had safety and mechanical deficiencies, including problems that would have caused the brakes to fail.
The sisters, ages 34, 33, 31 and 29, left behind three preschool-age children who now will be cared for by relatives. Their parents said that reality has not set in that they will never see four of their seven kids again.
"You know, your kids go off to college and other places. Sometimes you don't see them for several months," their father told the New York Times.
"Eventually we'll realize they aren't coming home."
These parents and extended family members have a long road ahead, post-funerals, as they deal with the estates of their children, go through their possessions, perhaps sell their homes and most importantly, make sure the children are settled. They will need to see to it that the emotional and physical needs of the little ones are met, too, for years to come. Attorneys experienced with commercial vehicle accidents will be able to offer each of the families of the limo passengers and the innocent pedestrians guidance in this difficult time.