The Nation Traffic Safety Bureau sometimes investigates traffic accidents. They use this information to issue safety recommendations to state and federal governments. The agency may investigate any accident in conjunction with the state or local jurisdiction, but in some cases, state investigations may hinder the agency’s access to investigate. One such case involves a limo accident which claimed 20 lives in upstate New York, as WGRZ reports.
Several months after a driver at the wheel of an SUV that had been modified into a stretch limousine blew through a stop sign and crashed, the NTSB says that local prosecutors are refusing to allow investigators closer than 15 feet of the vehicle.
Local prosecutors are barring the agency from getting closer to inspect the vehicle because they say their criminal investigation into the limousine service that provided the vehicle takes precedence.
The NTSB has now sought the interference of a judge to allow the agency access to the vehicle, which sits beneath a state police tent near Albany.
An attorney for the NTSB, Kathleen Silbaugh, says that the local prosecutor refuses to discuss the agency’s jurisdiction in the matter. Further, the attorney is concerned that continued delay of access may have caused evidence that is crucial to the safety of the vehicle to be lost.
On October 6th, 2018, a 2001 Ford Excursion that had been modified into a limousine blew through a stop sign and crashed beside a country store. 17 passengers, the driver, and two pedestrians were killed in the accident.
The vehicle had previously failed a state inspection that examined the vehicle’s suspension, brakes, and chassis.
While the criminal investigation does take precedence, public interest demands that the federal investigation into the safety of the vehicle proceed without delay.
Late in January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a ban on vehicles remanufactured into limousines from operating in the state.