FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, a limousine, left, has landed in the woods following a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. (Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, a limousine, left, has landed in the woods following a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. (Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File)

Limo driver’s widow: He worried about the vehicles’ safety

Kim Lisinicchia said her husband Scott had stated several times that he needed a different vehicle but then trusted the company’s assurances that its “cars were all right.”

The widow of a limousine driver involved in a New York state crash that killed 20 people says her husband had expressed concerns about the company’s vehicles.

Kim Lisinicchia told CBS in an interview broadcast on Wednesday that there were several times she heard her husband, Scott, state: “I’m not going to drive this, like this. You need to get me another car.” But then “he trusted in what the limo company said, that the cars were all right.”

Lisinicchia was driving the limousine that ran through a stop sign Saturday at the bottom of a T-intersection on a rural road in Schoharie, 25 miles west of Albany. The crash killed two pedestrians and all 18 people in the limo celebrating a woman’s birthday. The driver was among the dead.

State police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash, the nation’s deadliest transportation collision since Colgan Air Flight 3407 went down outside Buffalo in February 2009, killing 50 people.

Prestige Limousine has been criticized for maintaining vehicles rife with violations and for employing a driver lacking a commercial license.

Prestige’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, has said that safety issues were corrected. He said the driver might have misjudged his ability to stop at the bottom of a hill.

But the driver’s wife took issue with that.

“He was in excellent health. He was an excellent driver. For over 20-plus years he drove a tractor trailer,” Kim Lisinicchia said.

“I feel for these victims,” she said. “I am in no way trying to make it seem like it’s about me or my husband. I just want my husband to be vindicated. I have to stand for him, ‘cause nobody else will.”

Related: Upstate New York roads where limo crash killed 20 are a menace, store says

Related: Limo crash at upstate New York tourist spot kills 20, officials say

A statement issued previously through the Lisinicchia family’s lawyer said he would never have “knowingly put others in harm’s way.”

“The family believes that unbeknownst to him he was provided with a vehicle that was neither roadworthy nor safe for any of its occupants,” it said.

The limousine that ran the stop sign was cited for code violations on Sept. 4, including a problem with the antilock brakes’ malfunction indicator system. Four of the Gansevoort, New York-based company’s limos were cited for 22 maintenance violations this year, though none was deemed critical.

“Those safety issues had been addressed and corrected,” Kindlon told CBS News in a segment on Tuesday. “Not all infractions are major. A lot of these things are minor and were fixed.”

State Department of Transportation spokesman Joseph Morrissey said a sticker was placed on the vehicle after the September inspection declaring it “unserviceable.” He said Kindlon’s assertion that the code violations had been corrected and the vehicle cleared for service was “categorically false.”

Even if the repairs were made, the limo would have needed to be re-inspected and the owner would need approval again to transport passengers, a state transportation department spokesman said.

Kindlon said he doesn’t think those infractions contributed to the crash.

A vigil for the victims will be held on Wednesday evening in a Schoharie school gymnasium.

Services have been set for some of the victims, including 24-year-old Savannah Devonne Bursese, of Johnstown, the accident’s youngest victim. Her family is holding a private service Friday. In nearby Amsterdam, a funeral Mass is scheduled Saturday for the four King sisters, three of their husbands and the brother of one of the husbands.

Michael Hill, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs kindergarten students held a peaceful protest Monday (Jan. 18) to end separated recess. The protest was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and his lessons of non-violent action. Check out page XX for the whole story. (Dustin Neufeld/Contributed)
PHOTOS: Harrison students launch peaceful protest against playground division for MLK day

The kindergarten students negotiated with the school principal to enable recess on both playgrounds

Ottawa serial killer Camille Joseph Cleroux died of natural causes at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Sunday.
Serial killer housed at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution dies of natural causes

Camille Joseph Cleroux announced dead on Sunday, known as notorious Ottawa serial killer

Chilliwack Chiefs
Chilliwack adds prospect Lucas Sorace to future Chiefs D

The Port Moody product suited up for one BCHL game with Chilliwack during the 2019-20 season

Garry Blanchard of Hope won $77,000 correctly guessing the outcomes of all 13 games of NFL week 17. (Photo/BCLC)
Hope resident rakes in $77,000 in NFL Week 17 bet

Garry Blanchard won the record-breaking prize correctly guessing every outcome that week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

A Langley woman said she was shaken by the angry encounter. (Google Maps)
Woman shaken after belligerent encounter with unmasked man in Langley store

A man angry about vaccines berated a fellow shopper, a witness said

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

Most Read