UPDATE: All 20 victims in limo crash died of blunt-force trauma, autopsies show
By NBC News
UPDATE: The cause of death for all 20 people killed in an Oct. 6 limousine crash in upstate New York was determined to be severe, traumatic blunt-force injuries, New York State Police Major Robert E. Patnaude said Friday.
The autopsy results from Dr. Michael Sikirica of Albany Medical Center did not include conclusions from drug tests, which are pending, Patnaude said in a statement.
Scott Lisinicchia, 53, was among those killed when the 2001 Ford Excursion he was driving barreled down a hill, passed a stop sign, and struck a vehicle in the parking lot of a country store in the town of Schoharie, N.Y.
The passengers were headed to a brewery in Cooperstown to celebrate the 30th birthday of Amy Steenburg, who also was in the limousine. Two pedestrians also died when the vehicle struck by the limo hit them.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Federal safety records obtained by NBC News documented numerous citations for the vehicle in 2018, including having "brakes out of service" and being on the road without proof of proper inspection.
"The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said two days after the tragedy.
Authorities said Lisinicchia wasn't licensed to drive a livery vehicle with so many passengers. His wife, Kim Lisinicchia, said he had complained to the limousine's owner, Prestige Limousine of Gansevort, New York, about the condition of the vehicle.
The registered operator of the company, Nauman Hussain, was charged with criminally negligent homicide because he allegedly allowed an improperly licensed driver to operate a vehicle that was not authorized as roadworthy as a limo rental.
"The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain," New York State Police Superintendent George Beach said earlier this month.
His attorney, Lee Kindon, said prosecutors "jumped the gun" by charging Hussain. He said his client's father ran the company day-to-day.
PREVIOUS STORY: The limousine involved in an accident that killed 20 people in upstate New York on Saturday, including two pedestrians and all those riding inside, failed an inspection last month and should not have been on the road, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road," Cuomo said on Monday while speaking to press.
Cuomo also said the driver of the vehicle, who has not been identified, did not have the specific license — a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement — required to drive the limousine.
It is still not clear whether the limousine crash was the fault of the driver or a malfunction of the vehicle, Cuomo said, but that the National Transportation Safety Board and state police were investigating.
Prestige Limousine, the company responsible for the vehicle, was being sent a cease and desist until the investigation is complete, Cuomo said.
A spokesperson for Prestige Limousine did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Cuomo's statement.
Earlier, a spokesperson toldNBC's "Today" that they are "devastated by this loss," but declined to comment further because their owner is out of the country.
Cuomo said the limousine was a "chopped vehicle," meaning it had been cut and extended and needed federal certification that it had been extended in a way that is compliant with the law, which it did not have.
"I think the owner of Prestige has a lot of questions to answer," Cuomo said.
He added that laws and policies in New York state should have prevented the crash, but those laws and policies were broken in this case.
The accident occurred Saturday afternoon when the driver failed to stop at an intersection in Schoharie, New York, and careened into a parking lot before crashing into an unoccupied SUV, which struck the pedestrians, authorities said.
The limo had been rented as part of a 30th birthday celebration, according to Barbara Douglas, the aunt of Amy Steenburg, who was killed in the accident.
Amy Steenburg's husband Axel Steenburg, along with Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson, and Allison King were among the 18 people killed in the limousine.
"I've been on the board for 12 years and this is one of the biggest losses of life that we've seen in a long, long time," National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at a news conference on Sunday