The motorist behind the wheel in what has been dubbed the "most deadly transportation accident" since 2009 did not have a proper license at the time of the crash, according to reports.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo told reporters at a Columbus Day Parade that the driver of the stretch limo, who has been identified as Scott Lisinicchia, did not have a proper license and the vehicle he was driving had failed an inspection the month before and shouldn't have been on the road the day of the fatal crash that claimed the lives of 20 people in upstate New York, according to the New York Daily News.
The stretch limo full of occupants had been on its way to a birthday party at a brewery Saturday afternoon when it slammed into an unoccupied SUV shortly before 2 p.m. after missing a stop sign, according to ABC News. All 17 passengers, the driver, and two bystanders, who had been standing nearby, were killed in the crash.
Investigators are still trying to determine how fast the vehicle was traveling — the speed limit was 50 miles per hour on the stretch of road where the crash occurred outside the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe.
"This is the most deadly transportation accident in this country since February of 2009," Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board told reporters Sunday according to the Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York.
In 2009, a Colgan Air Flight crash killed 50 people in Buffalo, New York.
Authorities have yet to publicly identify the victims but family members of those killed have begun to speak out about the lives of those lost.
Two of the victims, Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan, were newlyweds just married in June according to the Vertucci's aunt, Valerie Abeling.
"It's a horrible tragedy and there's no words to describe how we feel," Abeling told CNN.
The birthday party had reportedly been for one of four sisters, all of whom were killed in the crash. Three of the sisters had also been traveling with their husbands.
The Associated Press identified them as Amy and Axel Steenburg, Abigail and Adam Jackson, Mary and Rob Dyson and Allison King.
"They were wonderful girls," the women's aunt, Barbara Douglas, told the news organization. "They'd do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family."
She said some of the couples had children, who they had left at home.
Amanda Halse, 26, and her boyfriend, Patrick Cushing, 31, were also reportedly in the car at the time of the crash. They had been dating about a year, according to Halse's sister, Karina Halse, 21.
“I mean, she told me she got a limo and she was going to this brewery in Cooperstown, and then this morning I saw a limo accident and 20 people dead,” Karina Halse told Good Morning America.
She described her sister as a "charismatic person" who just wanted to "make sure everyone was happy."
Lisinicchia's wife,Kim Lisinicchia, took to Facebook to express her grief writing, "I am at a loss for words! I lost my best friend in a car accident yesterday."
She said she loved and missed her husband very much and it "hurts me to the core to have to bury my husband."
Authorities continue to investigate the crash site today and have yet to announce any factors that may have contributing to the crash.
"Today is really our first full day of boots on the ground [investigations]," Sumwalt told "Good Morning America" Monday according to ABC News. "We're looking at the human, the machine and the environment" type of factors.