Among the 20 people killed in the tragic limo crash in upstate New York on Saturday were four sisters, their husbands, newlyweds and parents — all claimed by what the National Transportation Safety Board labeled the “most deadly transportation accident” in the U.S. since 2009.
The sisters — Amy Steenburg, Abigail Jackson, Mary Dyson and Allison King — and three of their husbands — Axel Steenburg, Adam Jackson and Rob Dyson — were all killed, according to the Associated Press. Axel’s brother Rich Steenburg was also killed, The New York Times reported. He had a 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson with his wife, who was not in the car.
Amy and Axel reportedly rented the limo for Amy’s 30th birthday. They had just tied the knot on June 30 in Saratoga, New York, according to their The Knot page.
“They still enjoy trying new breweries and their love has continued to flourish,” their page said. “Amy and Axel also enjoy traveling, as they recently relaxed on the beaches of Hawaii, and are very excited to visit the beautiful coast of Ireland for their honeymoon.”
On Oct. 3, Amy posted on her Facebook page, “I just wanted to say Axel Steenburg I love you more than words can say! You are such an amazing man and entertain all my crazy ideas. Even when I move a couch just to move it back to the original place. Thank you for being so kind and loving xo #justbecause #husband.”
Abigail, a teacher in the Amsterdam School District, and Adam had 4-year-old Archer and 16-month-old Elle, according to the Times Union and a GoFundMe page set up to provide for the kids. “Adam and Abby were amazing parents to these girls and taken much too soon,” the page, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars, says.
On Sunday afternoon, the New York State Police confirmed at a press conference that “18 of the victims were in the limousine, including the driver” and that “two pedestrians standing nearby were also struck and killed.”
The crash, which involved two vehicles, occurred at approximately 1:55 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, according to police. Their preliminary investigation revealed that the accident occurred at the intersection of State Route 30 and State Route 30A.
The sisters’ brother Tom King told the New York Post that the women “were very tight.”
“They were the Four Musketeers,’’ he said. “We all are what’s left. There was seven of us — five sisters and two brothers.”
“They were wonderful girls,” the sisters’ aunt Barbara Douglas said, according to the AP. “They’d do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family.”
She continued, “They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn’t have to drive anywhere.”
Erin McGowan, a St. Mary’s Hospital employee who was pursuing a master’s in special education, and Shane McGowan were also newlyweds. They had married on June 8 in Amsterdam, New York, according to their The Knot page.
Patrick Cushing, another person killed in the crash, was reportedly Erin’s cousin.
Erin’s stepfather Rocco Semprivivo told The New York Times, “She was just such a pretty girl.”
Her uncle Anthony Vertucci told the Times Union, “My whole entire family is in complete and utter shock. It’s hard and so tragic. … We’re just talking layers of tragedy. There are so many families affected by this.”
“They were just so beautiful and vibrant and kind. They made such a dynamic duo,” Vertucci said of the McGowan couple. “They were finally able to get married and just honestly starting to live their life. They had big plans. They were saving for a house and hoping to do everything that everybody hopes to do.”
Susan Minicki McGowan wrote on Facebook, “Our family will never be the same after the tragic deaths of Our Son Shane and Daughter Erin…”
A friend of the group, Erin Flaherty, told The New York Times, “They were together multiple times a week always hanging out.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Sunday that his “heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives.”
He wrote, “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.”