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Investigators find more irregualities in deadly limo's history

Missouri residents may be aware that a crash involving a stretch-limousine and a stationary vehicle in upstate New York claimed the lives of 20 people on Oct. 6. New details emerging from the investigation reveal that the license plates fitted to the Ford Excursion SUV when it failed a safety inspection on Sept. 4 do not match the plates it had on display when it was cited for a raft of potentially dangerous violations six months earlier.

Investigators say that the disclosure is another sign that the owner of the 2001 SUV paid scant attention to road safety regulations. Official records indicate that the vehicle was cited for several brake violations and ordered out of service in September, and the man who died while behind its wheel told his wife that he was often given limousines in extremely poor condition to drive according to media reports. Attorneys representing the owner of the limousine company deny these claims and say that the Excursion failed its inspection for a number of minor issues that were subsequently repaired.

Police officers fearing that the limo owner was attempting to flee ahead of a criminal indictment took the man into custody following a controlled traffic stop according to the Schoharie County District Attorney's Office. Suitcases found inside his car suggest that these concerns were well founded. The man is said to have told New York State Police Officers that he decided to flee after receiving a number of death threats. All 18 occupants of the limousine and two pedestrians were killed in the crash.

Experienced personal injury attorneys may pursue wrongful death litigation against stretch-limousine makers as well as operators when lives have been lost in one of their vehicles. These custom builders are not required to meet the same strict crash worthiness standards as vehicle manufacturers, but they are still expected to produce sedan and SUV-based limousines that provide adequate protection in an accident.

Source: Rochester First, Limo in fatal crash used two different license plates for inspection, Staff report, Oct. 12, 2018Source: ABC News, Limo in deadly crash had been cited for out-of-service brakes, By Anthony Rivas and Aaron Katersky, Oct. 11, 2018

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