"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 hard time", said NY governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement following the horrific crash.
The crash appeared to be the deadliest land-vehicle accident in the US since a bus ferrying nursing home patients away from Hurricane Rita caught fire in Texas 2005, killing 23.
The vehicle was "not supposed to be on the road", he said. And the T-bone intersection where the crash occurred-where Route 30 meets Route 30A-has also been characterized as "very risky".
New York State law requires seat belt their use in the front seat of a passenger vehicle and not at all in a bus, except for school buses.
All 18 people on board, as well as two pedestrians, were killed outside the restaurant, which is popular among tourists who come to see the trees change colour in the autumn.
Excited about a birthday celebration and wanting to do the right thing by not driving, 17 friends piled into a white stretch limousine for what was supposed to have been a fun party at a brewery in upstate NY.
McGowan's aunt Valerie Abeling told CNN her niece had texted her friend saying that the company had sent the stretch limousine to replace a vehicle that had broken down.
The accident occurred about 25 miles west of Albany in Schoharie, N.Y. The group rented the limousine for a trip to a brewery to celebrate a birthday.
Shane, 30, and Erin, 34, had married in June 2018.
Before the disaster, the 17 birthday party guests in the limo - including newlyweds, young couples and four sisters - were headed to an upstate NY brewery. But state police say they seized four Prestige cars, including the one that crashed.
"They had their whole lives ahead of them", aunt Barbara Douglas said describing the four sisters.
Jessica Kirby, the managing director of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Café, said there have been "more accidents that I can count" at the T-junction of Route 30 and state Route 30A. "Cushing's unconditional kindness and ability to make friends of his fiercest competitors made him the consummate sportsman all dodgeballers strive to be", his team wrote in a Facebook post.
Amy Steenburg's husband, Axel Steenburg, and Axel's brother, Rich Steenburg, were also killed.
Matthew Coons, who served as a groomsman at the Steenburgs' wedding, was also killed, along with his girlfriend Savannah Bursese. Another GoFundMe campaign is looking beyond funeral costs, and at the future of the two little girls left behind by the Jacksons. The close-knit group included newlyweds, artists, athletes and young parents.
Karina Halse told The Associated Press that her sister, a waitress, had texted her just before getting into the limo.
Amanda Halse was an artist and the peacekeeper in the family, her sister said. "While families will step in and provide loving care for these girls, there will be expenses that we can help with during this time when we otherwise feel so helpless".
She added that the state Department of Transportation has banned heavy trucks from the intersection but there are constant smaller crashes.
A lawyer for the limo company suggested the driver was unfamiliar with the roads.