New York Limousine Crash: Driver Didn't Have Appropriate License to Operate Vehicle, Limo Failed Inspection, Cuomo Says

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the driver operating the limousine that killed 20 people on Saturday in upstate Schoharie did not have an appropriate license for the vehicle.

Cuomo told reporters on Monday that the limo involved in the crash failed a state Department of Motor Vehicles' inspection last month and was not supposed to be on the road, WABC-TV reported. It is still not known what caused the accident.

The aunt of Erin Vertucci and her new husband, Shane McGowan, who were both killed in the crash, told The Washington Post that her daughter, who was invited to ride in the vehicle but did not go with the group, said she had received a text message from the newlywed couple about the limousine just 20 minutes before the accident.

"The vehicle appeared in terrible condition," Valerie Abeling, told the Post, citing the text message.

The driver and 17 other people in the limo, as well as two pedestrians, were killed in the small town near Albany. The crash happened just before 2 p.m. on Saturday when a 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limousine was driving southwest on Route 30. It did not stop at the intersection with Route 30A and hit an empty SUV in a parking lot.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, said its chairman, Robert Sumwalt, according to WABC-TV.

"This is one of the biggest losses of life that we've seen in a long, long time," Sumwalt said, referring to the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in Buffalo, New York, in February 2009, which killed 50 people.

Cuomo released a statement following the news of the accident, praising the first responders at the scene.

"My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident on Saturday in Schoharie. I commend the first responders who arrived on the scene and worked through the night to help," Cuomo said. "State police are working with federal and local authorities to investigate the crash, and I have directed state agencies to provide every resource necessary to aid in this investigation and determine what led to this tragedy."

He added, "I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time."

The driver, Scott Lisinicchia, was known as a "great guy," Thea Broadus Griggs, a friend of Lisinicchia's since high school, told the New York Daily News. Griggs created a GoFundMe account to help cover the cost of the Lisinicchia's funeral.

"Words cannot express the grief and sorrow that we, his family and friends are experiencing. The entire community is shocked and devastated with the news of this terrible accident and Scott's untimely passing," the description on the fundraiser read. "We will miss him beyond measure."

New York Limousine Crash: Driver Didn't Have Appropriate License to Operate Vehicle, Limo Failed Inspection, Cuomo Says | U.S.