Friends, family and acquaintances across the state are mourning the 20 people who died in a limousine accident in Schoharie, N.Y. this weekend. After police identified all the victims, grief is reaching all corners of the state.
The President of SUNY Plattsburgh sent a message to the entire campus community Monday that several of those who died in the Schoharie crash were alumni of the college.
Allison King graduated in 2010. 2011 graduate Amy King Steenburg was her sister. Amanda Rivenburg was also a 2011 graduate. Adam Jackson attended the college for one year and was the sisters’ brother-in-law. College President John Ettling wrote: “This is shocking and tragic. We grieve with their surviving family members and all who knew them.”
Meanwhile a family friend created a Facebook fundraising page. Jamie Elizabeth, who was not available for comment in time for broadcast, grew up with the King sisters in the Adirondack community of Chazy Lake.
She wrote on Facebook that it was a “parent’s worst nightmare,” adding “there are no words that can describe how horrific this must be for the King family, nor are there words that will heal their pain.” As of mid-afternoon Tuesday the fundraiser for the parents and children left behind had collected more than $242,000.
Sports-loving Patrick Cushing worked in the state Senate Technology Services unit. He also died in the crash. Capital Region rec softball league commissioner Pete Benson remembers seeing him occasionally at work but most often during softball games. “We were watching the press, the press conference and at that time no names were going out. So we were just all like this is horrible, can’t believe it you know. And then I found out Sunday night that’s when I was like crazy. He was a like a golden soul I say. Always happy and we didn’t talk too much about our social lives. We talked about softball and he was an avid like a stud softball player and a stud dodgeball player from what I hear. I mean amazing. He played for the USA team. Another friend, a mutual friend of ours, they went together they went to Europe to play dodgeball. He was amazing.”
The limousine involved in the crash was a converted SUV. New York 21st District Congresswoman Elise Stefanik says Congress should look at new standards to assure such an incident never happens again. “The fact that we’ve had such an extraordinary loss of life is just unimaginable, being a part of the family with the four sisters, and obviously this community in my district has been touched because they grew up here or attended college here and one of the couples lived in Watertown. So yes Congress should act and take a good look at this. And there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Why was a vehicle on the road that failed inspection? Why was the driver allowed to drive that vehicle that he didn’t have the appropriate license for?”
New York State Police continue to investigate the crash. This is the list of all the victims and where they lived as released by NYSP:
Axel J. Steenburg, 29, Amsterdam, NY
Richard M. Steenburg, 34, Johnstown, NY
Amy L. Steenburg, 29, Amsterdam, NY
Allison King, 31, Ballston Spa, NY
Mary E. Dyson, 33, Watertown, NY
Robert J. Dyson, 34, Watertown, NY
Abigail M. Jackson, 34, Amsterdam, NY
Matthew W. Coons, 27, Johnstown, NY
Savannah D. Bursese, 24, Johnstown, NY
Patrick K. Cushing, 31, Troy, NY
Amanda D. Halse, 26, Troy, NY
Erin R. McGowan, 34, Amsterdam, NY
Shane T. McGowan, 30, Amsterdam, NY
Amanda Rivenburg, 29, Colonie, NY
Adam G. Jackson, 34, Amsterdam, NY
Rachael K. Cavosie, 30, Waterford, NY
Michael C. Ukaj, 34, Johnstown, NY
Scott T. Lisinicchia, 53, Lake George, NY
Brian Hough, 46, Moravia, NY
James Schnurr, 70, Kerhonkson, NY