Seventeen friends and relatives headed to a brewery in Cooperstown, New York, for a birthday party and beer tasting. They did everything to make their celebration safe, even hiring a small bus to ensure that no one would get behind the wheel drunk.
Everything went wrong anyway. The bus broke down and was replaced by a stretch limousine that had failed a safety inspection. The driver didn’t have the right “clearance” to operate with so many passengers. The route to the brewery crossed a notoriously dangerous intersection.
When the limo blew through a stop sign and crashed into a parked car, all 17 friends, including four sisters, the driver and two pedestrians were killed. It was the deadliest transportation accident since a 2009 plane crash killed 50.
While New York state police and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate the accident’s cause, the operator of the company that rented out the shoddy 2001 Ford Excursion SUV has been charged with criminally negligent homicide.