The family of Amanda Rivenburg is pursuing financial compensation stemming from a devastating limousine accident. The collision resulted in the death of two pedestrians and 18 passengers of a rented stretch limousine at an intersection that has been the site of prior fatal accidents. The manager of Apple Barrel Country Store & Café, which is located near the site, explained that several serious accidents have occurred at the intersection in recent years. In response to the incident, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a ban on stretch limousines such as the one involved.
New York Governor Response
Governor Cuomo's proposal would target specialty remanufactured limousines that are extended to lengths up to 30 feet. He feels these are “dangerous” vehicles are a potential threat to overall public safety in the state. The reforms would include provisions for law enforcement to have these vehicles removed from the roadways and hold operators accountable. The third-term governor is including the proposed legislation in his 2020 legislative agenda.
The Ford Excursion SUV had been rented by the group for a 30th birthday party in Saratoga, New York. The driver failed to stop at the intersection on Route 30 and proceeded to strike two pedestrians before finally striking another vehicle. Officials are calling the incident the “deadliest land vehicle accident” in recent years.
Local authorities had not determined the speed the limousine was traveling at the time. Relatives of the victims explained that the group chose to rent the limousine so that the individuals would not need to drive. Valerie Abeling, an aunt of 34-year-old Erin Vertucci who was killed, was devastated after learning of the crash. She explained that Vertucci had recently been married to 30-year-old Shane McGowan who also died in the accident.
Civil Suit Filed
Thomas and Donna Rivenburg filed the lawsuit in a Supreme Court in Albany. Amanda Rivenburg was a 29-year-old graduate of Colonie Central High School that was employed in Albany. They are seeking financial compensation and hope to find out the details of why the accident occurred. The defendants are Shahed and Nauman Hussain of the Prestige Limousine Company. Nauman Hussain is also facing criminal charges for negligent homicide following the incident. A lawyer for the plaintiffs also said they are considering a potential lawsuit against local state agencies who they believe were aware that the intersection was very dangerous and needed to be reconfigured.
Claims of Negligence
The lawsuit claims the business operators continued to use the limousine although an inspection showed that the vehicle had some problems with the brakes. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages based on gross negligence. The defendants are alleged to have demonstrated “conscious disregard” for the safety of the passengers.
Limousine Accident Data
Over the span from 2012 to 2016 there were an estimated 12 deaths among occupants of these large limousines. A grand jury in New York recently determined that these modified stretch limousines lack key safety features. They found that these vehicles do not have proper rollover protection and lack side-impact airbags. Following the accident, the Department of Transportation removed the limousine from service while investigators consider the safety concerns.