Hundreds at funeral for eight victims of limousine crash that killed 20


A funeral has been held for eight of the 20 people killed in a limousine crash in upstate New York.

Sisters Allison King, Abby Jackson, Mary Dyson and Amy Steenburg were killed on their way to a birthday party last weekend.

Also killed were 13 other relatives, friends, the limousine’s driver, and two pedestrians who were hit by the car as it careered down a hill, past a stop sign and into a parked vehicle.

Hundreds of people were at St Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in Amsterdam, New York, for the funeral of the four sisters and Abigail’s husband Adam Jackson, Mary’s husband Robert Dyson, Amy’s husband Axel Steenburg and his older brother Richard.

(L-R): Allison King, Abby Jackson, Mary Dyson and Amy Steenburg and mourners at their funeral
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(Inset L-R): Allison King, Abby Jackson, Mary Dyson and Amy Steenburg and mourners at their funeral

The Reverend O Robert DeMaritnis married the Steenburgs in June.

He said the couple had asked people not to take photos at their wedding, placing a sign at the event encouraging them to “live in the moment”.

He had wondered why they had never collected the sign afterwards but said now he knew.

Holding the sign himself, he told mourners: “That’s what they’re asking me to ask you to do today.”

The group had been celebrating Amy’s 30th birthday but Rev DeMaritnis said he believed they were able to celebrate in the afterlife and those mourning should take solace in the victims’ eternal life.

Mourners line up in front of St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church to pay their respects to some of the victims in last weekend's fatal limo crash on October 12, 2018 in Amsterdam, New York
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The mourners were told the sisters were celebrating Amy’s 30th birthday in the afterlife

The four sisters grew up in Amsterdam and many of the other victims had ties to the area, leaving the small community struggling after the deaths.

At the funeral, photos of the eight victims sat at the altar with five teddy bears – one for each child left without a parent by the accident.

Rev DeMaritnis said: “The question that is in the hearts of so many is: Why?

“Why did these 20 individuals have to be taken from us so quickly and so unexpectedly?”

On Thursday Prestige Limousine operator Nauman Hussain was charged with criminally negligent homicide after being arrested on a highway near Albany.

New York State Police superintendent George Beech said Hussain is solely responsible for the “unserviceable” limo being on the road.

State officials say the vehicle failed an inspection on 4 September, and had problems with its anti-lock brake system and a malfunction with the indicator system.

The company’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, has said safety problems were corrected but the state claims this is not the case.

Prestige Limousine is owned by Shahed Hussain, who worked as an informant for the FBI after the 9/11 attacks.

He infiltrated Muslim groups by posing as a terrorist sympathiser in at least three investigations.

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