Date Shot: Oct 6, 2018  Location Shot: SCHOHARIE NY
WTEN
Date Shot: Oct 6, 2018 Location Shot: SCHOHARIE NY
Now playing
01:19
Most deadly US crash since 2009 kills 20 (2018)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Bitcoin has an energy problem
Now playing
05:18
Anderson Cooper explains how he overcomes being shy
Now playing
01:32
Scientists turned spiderwebs into music and it sounds like a nightmare
Kristina Barboza
Now playing
03:09
Grieving mom's advice to other families: You can try to help, support and love
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Now playing
01:02
Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers question stumps 'Jeopardy!' contestants
Now playing
02:35
WWII veteran: End of the war was 'the biggest thrill of my life'
Now playing
05:18
Coinbase CFO: We're an on-ramp to the crypto economy
CNN
Now playing
02:12
'Too dangerous to do anymore': Sacha Baron Cohen on Borat
Christopher Hamilton
Now playing
01:01
Volcanologist shares what he prefers to cook on lava flows
John Avlon 0413 Wallace
CNN
John Avlon 0413 Wallace
Now playing
03:31
Avlon compares Tucker Carlson's comments to George Wallace
screengrab hong kong oscars
IMDB / Field of Vision
screengrab hong kong oscars
Now playing
02:50
Hong Kong won't air Oscars for the first time since 1968
Now playing
01:27
See the first community of 3D-printed homes
Burlington, MA Headquarters
Nuance
Burlington, MA Headquarters
Now playing
01:34
Microsoft to buy AI company Nuance
Now playing
02:50
Sleep doctor tells Anderson Cooper how long a power nap should be
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the quarterly CARES Act report on Capitol Hill December 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also testified at the hearing. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the quarterly CARES Act report on Capitol Hill December 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also testified at the hearing. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:06
Fed chief: The economy is about to grow more quickly
(CNN) —  

A limousine carrying several couples to a birthday party failed to stop at an intersection in upstate New York and struck a parked vehicle, killing 20 people in the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in nearly a decade, according to authorities and a family member.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limo was traveling southwest on State Route 30 when it didn’t stop at the intersection with State Route 30 A and collided with an SUV in a parking lot shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday in Schoharie, New York State Police First Deputy Superintendent Chris Fiore said.

All 18 people in the limo, including the driver, were killed, Fiore said Sunday. Two pedestrians near the unoccupied, parked 2015 Toyota Highlander also were killed, he said.

Valerie Abeling told CNN her niece, Erin Vertucci and Erin’s husband Shane McGowan, who were married in June, were among the victims in the limo.

“My family is just going through a lot,” Abeling said. “It’s a horrible tragedy and there’s no words to describe how we feel.”

Authorities are still notifying the families of victims and declined to release the victims’ names, according to Fiore.

’These were young couples’

Abeling said the group was heading to Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown – located about 43 miles away – to celebrate the 30th birthday of Vertucci’s and McGowan’s friend, who got married last month. That friend and her three sisters and their spouses were all killed, Abeling said.

“These were young couples, just got married and had their whole lives ahead of them,” Abeling said.

Vertucci and McGowan “were very much in love,” Abeling said.

Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan were married in June.
Louis Torres Photography
Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan were married in June.

“My niece was four years older than him, and she said she found the love of her life,” she said. “He was very sweet and very kind and very funny.”

Fiore said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families following this horrific tragedy.”

He said authorities were able to figure out the direction the limo was traveling and what occurred, based on evidence found at the scene. He said there were witnesses.

Fiore said authorities couldn’t answer several questions at this point, such as whether the limo’s occupants were wearing seat belts, whether the vehicle’s brakes were working or whether the driver was speeding.

The speed limit at the intersection is 50 mph, Fiore said.

The scene of a fatal crash in Schoharie.
Hans Pennink/AP
The scene of a fatal crash in Schoharie.

’I heard a loud bang’

A National Transportation Safety Board team arrived Sunday to investigate. The team expects to remain on the scene for about five days, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

Members of the National Transportation Safety Board work at the scene of Saturday's fatal crash.
Hans Pennink/AP
Members of the National Transportation Safety Board work at the scene of Saturday's fatal crash.

“Twenty fatalities, it’s just horrific,” Sumwalt said. “I’ve been on the board for 12 years and this is one of the biggest losses of life … that we’ve seen in a long, long time. Colgan Air up at Buffalo killed 40 people, 50 people, but this is the most deadly transportation accident in this country since February of 2009.”

The crash happened outside an Apple Barrel Country Store & Cafe. Resident Bridey Finnagen said the crash was loud enough to hear from down the road.

“I heard a loud bang. I came out my front door to see what was going on,” Finnagen told CNN affiliate WTEN.

“I saw a lot of people here at the Apple Barrel out in the parking lot. Then I heard screaming. Then I saw this large van, a very unusual looking vehicle, out here in Schoharie in the bushes and really wrecked, hit a tree.”

State and local authorities respond to the scene about 40 miles west of Albany.
WTEN
State and local authorities respond to the scene about 40 miles west of Albany.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the first responders who “worked through the night to help.”

“I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”

CNN’s Madeleine Thompson, Keith Allen, Tony Marco, Tonju Francois and Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun contributed to this report.