Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

Limo Driver, Passengers were Smoking Marijuana in New York Accident that Killed 20

Crash at the Apple Barrel Country Store killed two pedestrians and 18 inside the limousine


October 7, 2018


A family ripped apart; Pictured are sisters Allison King (back row, second from left) Abby Jackson (front left), Amy Steenburg (front right) and Mary Dyson (back row, on the right of Allison) were all killed in the Saturday crash

The nation's largest transportation accident since 2009 was caused by a driver and passengers who were "hot-boxing" the limousine. In other words, they had the windows rolled up and were smoking copious amounts of weed, to the point where the driver could hardly see out his front windshield.

Scott Lisinicchia, 43, was driving the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie. Due to his inebriated state, he failed to stop at a T-junction with state Route 30A, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore said at a news conference in Latham, New York.

The limousine loaded with revelers headed to a 30th birthday party blew a stop sign at the end of a highway and slammed into an SUV parked outside a store, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians in the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in almost a decade, officials and relatives of the victims said Sunday.

The collision turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon into chaos at an upstate New York spot popular with tourists taking in the fall foliage. Relatives said the limousine was carrying four sisters and their friends to a birthday celebration for the youngest sister, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) north of New York City around 2 p.m. when the crash occurred.

"They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere," their aunt, Barbara Douglas, told reporters on Sunday. She did not want to name them publicly but added: "They were wonderful girls. They'd do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family."

It went across the road and hit an unoccupied SUV parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing the limousine driver and 17 passengers, as well as two people outside the vehicle.

Weed causes the most deaths from a US traffic accident in years

The crash "sounded like an explosion," said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters and had been in their parked car at the time at the store.

She described all four sisters, who were aged 35 to 30, as 'beautiful girls, full of life' and said two were mothers.

'They had their whole lives ahead of them,' she said. Douglas spoke of the family's tragedy while visiting the scene of the wreck.

'My brother (the sisters' father) told me that when [the police] called him they didn't know if the brakes went out or what, but they were all dead,' she said.

'My brother and his wife are just overwrought,' she said. 'I don't know how to say it. Can't wrap your head around such a tragedy where you have four of your daughters die.'

Matthew Coons, a US Army veteran, and his girlfriend Savannah Devonne also died in the accident.


Reader Comments

3675 writes:

Why hasn’t this part of the investigation been on the news?


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