It should never have been on the road.
That’s what authorities said about the limousine van involved in a crash in upstate New York that killed 20 people.
“It failed inspection and was not supposed to be on the road. The driver did not have the appropriate license," explained New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Now, the crash is raising safety concerns about the limo industry, especially as students are booking rides for homecoming.
Barbara Douglas was an aunt to four of the 20 victims – all sisters. Douglas said the crash has left her family torn apart.
"I don't know how to say it,” she began. “You can't wrap your head around such a tragedy where you have four of your daughters die."
Police said the Ford Excursion limousine they were riding in ran a stop sign and crashed. A month earlier, it failed an inspection and the chauffer didn't have the correct license to be driving.
“The first thing you wonder is, who is the company and who is chauffer and what kind of training did they have,” asked Fred Rich. Rich is the president of CTN Global Chauffered Transportation, based in Georgia.
He's been in the limousine business for 15 years. He told 11Alive’s Natisha Lance everyone should do their homework before hiring any limo company.
“A limousine company in Georgia needs to be permitted with the Department of Public Safety,” he explained.
A list of all the companies in good standing with the DPS can be found on their website.
Rich also suggested asking to see the vehicle inspection – each limo should have one every year. Also, ask to see insurance. Find out how chauffers are vetted and trained. And check to see if the limo has seatbelts.
Almost every state requires front seat passengers to wear a seatbelt. But 22 states, including Georgia, don't require it for back seat passengers. It's unclear if the passengers in the New York crash were wearing restraints. Passengers not wearing a seatbelt are eight times more likely to die in a crash.
And as parents begin thinking about getting their kids ready for homecoming and prom, Rich stressed how important it is to do the homework on the limo company.
It could be the difference between life and death.