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Author Topic: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead  (Read 6828 times)

kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #150 on: November 19, 2018, 12:56:47 PM »

The first lawsuit against the limo company was filed today.

https://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/First-lawsuit-filed-on-behalf-of-limo-crash-victim-13404850.php
As if that would matter. Owner is overseas and will not return, FBI covers his butt, and company probably has 2 more clunkers as assets.
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US71

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #151 on: November 19, 2018, 01:09:51 PM »

The first lawsuit against the limo company was filed today.

https://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/First-lawsuit-filed-on-behalf-of-limo-crash-victim-13404850.php
As if that would matter. Owner is overseas and will not return, FBI covers his butt, and company probably has 2 more clunkers as assets.

Didn't the son try to leave the county and got stopped?
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #152 on: January 17, 2019, 12:01:47 PM »

Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #153 on: January 17, 2019, 12:16:52 PM »

Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #154 on: January 17, 2019, 12:22:05 PM »

Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #155 on: January 17, 2019, 01:03:20 PM »

Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

The NTSB doesn't have any say in charges in the crash - their final rulings usually take a year, which is well after most charges need to be issued against someone.  They are there to simply investigate and determine what went wrong, and what can be improved.  The DA should have absolutely no involvement at this point in the crash, other than determining how to proceed against the defendants.

Even the NTSB's findings and recommendations aren't absolute - they need to be adopted.  And even if they say that the road signage was partially at fault, that's a transportation issue, not a DA issue.   So why the DA doesn't want to grant access to the NTSB is extremely unusual, and those actions don't help anyone.  Lawsuits can still go forward by anyone who wished to sue, and proceedings will consist of what is known.
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #156 on: January 17, 2019, 01:26:11 PM »

Whoever still follows this...
Looks like DA seriously tries to make sure owners are off the hook....
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Schoharie-DA-unexpectedly-terminated-call-with-13539378.php


I've been wondering what was happening.
My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

The NTSB doesn't have any say in charges in the crash - their final rulings usually take a year, which is well after most charges need to be issued against someone.  They are there to simply investigate and determine what went wrong, and what can be improved.  The DA should have absolutely no involvement at this point in the crash, other than determining how to proceed against the defendants.

Even the NTSB's findings and recommendations aren't absolute - they need to be adopted.  And even if they say that the road signage was partially at fault, that's a transportation issue, not a DA issue.   So why the DA doesn't want to grant access to the NTSB is extremely unusual, and those actions don't help anyone.  Lawsuits can still go forward by anyone who wished to sue, and proceedings will consist of what is known.
Problem here is that after  3 months no technical expertise took place - the vehicle is still in temporary storage, and critical components are still in place. How long would it take before right for speedy trial will make DA to present the case to jury - without key technical evidence? Jury will have no choice other than "not guilty".
Not to mention that after things rust up in a parking lot, it would be impossible to determine if things were broken before the crash or as a result of a crash, so part of evidence is already lost.
I don't see any other reason for such DA actions other than killing the case. Legal problems with NTSB?  They did similar things hundreds and thousands times before and should know the drill...
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #157 on: January 17, 2019, 02:55:08 PM »

Somewhat related -- haven't NTSB activities been idled because of the partial government shutdown? I thought I recalled reading that somewhere.
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #158 on: January 17, 2019, 03:06:13 PM »

Somewhat related -- haven't NTSB activities been idled because of the partial government shutdown? I thought I recalled reading that somewhere.
They were fighting for access for 2 months before the shutdown, and they did recall investigators after court intervened in anticipation of reaching agreement with DA office.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #159 on: January 17, 2019, 04:09:29 PM »

My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

I don't think that is necessarily the case.  I think she may very well be out of her depth.  A Google search on her name--as {Susan J Mallery lawyer} without braces--turns up hits for a law practice that focuses on family law/divorce/alimony.  Though there are also hits saying she has been an ADA for Schoharie County, it is small in population (33,000, fifth-lowest in NY) and she may simply not have much experience with multi-agency investigations.

As for how long it takes to bring cases to court:  last May I served as a juror in a trial involving a homicide that took place in December 2016.  That was 17 months to bring the case to trial, and we ended up letting the defendant off because we felt there was insufficient evidence his actions caused the death at issue.
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #160 on: January 17, 2019, 04:43:08 PM »

My only explanation is that DA wants, for some reason, cause of the crash be unprovable beyond reasonable doubt. So owners get bunch of tickets -  but no criminal charges, write some checks and walk away. FBI is protecting their people...

I don't think that is necessarily the case.  I think she may very well be out of her depth.  A Google search on her name--as {Susan J Mallery lawyer} without braces--turns up hits for a law practice that focuses on family law/divorce/alimony.  Though there are also hits saying she has been an ADA for Schoharie County, it is small in population (33,000, fifth-lowest in NY) and she may simply not have much experience with multi-agency investigations.

As for how long it takes to bring cases to court:  last May I served as a juror in a trial involving a homicide that took place in December 2016.  That was 17 months to bring the case to trial, and we ended up letting the defendant off because we felt there was insufficient evidence his actions caused the death at issue.
Could very well be beyond her skills - but she is not the only party in the game. For example, state police are also involved in the investigation, and I am sure they do have enough experience. And if she feels she cannot handle this, I am sure there would be other options, like state AG office.
There was quite a bit of coverage, and looks like NTSB is giving up on a situation, and just prepares public for an investigation failure.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #161 on: January 17, 2019, 05:08:21 PM »

I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #162 on: January 17, 2019, 05:28:37 PM »

I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.
THey were also talking about examining fractures etc. Sounds like all NTSB got so far is permission to take photos without touching anything. Which may or may not mean that they have a clear suspicion about what happened.
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Beltway

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #163 on: January 17, 2019, 05:48:49 PM »

I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.

NTSB is purely a safety investigative organization, so that by investigating the causes of accidents, safety recommendations and improvements could be recommended to the industry.  Their reports have no legal power over any aspect of transportation or any one particular accident.

https://www.ntsb.gov/about/history/Pages/default.aspx

The NTSB originated in the Air Commerce Act of 1926, in which the U.S. Congress charged the U.S. Department of Commerce with investigating the causes of aircraft accidents.  Later, that responsibility was given to the Civil Aeronautics Board's Bureau of Aviation Safety, when it was created in 1940.

In 1967, Congress consolidated all transportation agencies into a new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and established the NTSB as an independent agency placed within the DOT for administrative purposes.  In creating the NTSB, Congress envisioned that a single organization with a clearly defined mission could more effectively promote a higher level of safety in the transportation system than the individual modal agencies working separately.  Since 1967, the NTSB has investigated accidents in the aviation, highway, marine, pipeline, and railroad modes, as well as accidents related to the transportation of hazardous materials.

In 1974, Congress reestablished the NTSB as a completely separate entity, outside the DOT, reasoning that " ...No federal agency can properly perform such (investigatory) functions unless it is totally separate and independent from any other ... agency of the United States."  Because the DOT has broad operational and regulatory responsibilities that affect the safety, adequacy, and efficiency of the transportation system, and transportation accidents may suggest deficiencies in that system, the NTSB's independence was deemed necessary for proper oversight.

The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #164 on: January 17, 2019, 06:09:54 PM »

I do hope that the NTSB continues to push.  I also think it is very telling that all of this palaver in court is focused on a warrant involving removal of the transmission and torque converter, as that points toward failure of engine braking as a proximate cause of the accident.

NTSB is purely a safety investigative organization, so that by investigating the causes of accidents, safety recommendations and improvements could be recommended to the industry.  Their reports have no legal power over any aspect of transportation or any one particular accident.

https://www.ntsb.gov/about/history/Pages/default.aspx

The NTSB originated in the Air Commerce Act of 1926, in which the U.S. Congress charged the U.S. Department of Commerce with investigating the causes of aircraft accidents.  Later, that responsibility was given to the Civil Aeronautics Board's Bureau of Aviation Safety, when it was created in 1940.

In 1967, Congress consolidated all transportation agencies into a new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and established the NTSB as an independent agency placed within the DOT for administrative purposes.  In creating the NTSB, Congress envisioned that a single organization with a clearly defined mission could more effectively promote a higher level of safety in the transportation system than the individual modal agencies working separately.  Since 1967, the NTSB has investigated accidents in the aviation, highway, marine, pipeline, and railroad modes, as well as accidents related to the transportation of hazardous materials.

In 1974, Congress reestablished the NTSB as a completely separate entity, outside the DOT, reasoning that " ...No federal agency can properly perform such (investigatory) functions unless it is totally separate and independent from any other ... agency of the United States."  Because the DOT has broad operational and regulatory responsibilities that affect the safety, adequacy, and efficiency of the transportation system, and transportation accidents may suggest deficiencies in that system, the NTSB's independence was deemed necessary for proper oversight.

The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
As far as I know, factual findings are admissible in court.
SO if NTSB examines torque converter and finds it is damaged due to poor condition of transmission fluid and concludes it affected  engine braking action, only part in italic is admissible as evidence.
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Beltway

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #165 on: January 17, 2019, 06:22:22 PM »

The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
As far as I know, factual findings are admissible in court.
SO if NTSB examines torque converter and finds it is damaged due to poor condition of transmission fluid and concludes it affected  engine braking action, only part in italic is admissible as evidence.

NTSB officially states that its reports are to be inadmissible in a court of law.  I will have to do more searching to find out exactly how they would enforce that, other than the fact that they don't assign blame in a legal sense, and (I would suspect) by law their staff is exempt from subpoena in any court case that would deal with fault in an accident.

State police forces have accident investigation units that do assign fault and their reports are admissible in a court of law.  Likewise with most local police departments.  So it is not like there is a need for NTSB to do that type of investigation in the first place.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 06:27:17 PM by Beltway »
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kalvado

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #166 on: January 17, 2019, 06:30:31 PM »

The NTSB, which has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation, conducts investigations and makes recommendations from an objective viewpoint.
As far as I know, factual findings are admissible in court.
SO if NTSB examines torque converter and finds it is damaged due to poor condition of transmission fluid and concludes it affected  engine braking action, only part in italic is admissible as evidence.

NTSB officially states that its reports are to be inadmissible in a court of law.  I will have to do more searching to find out exactly how they would enforce that, other than the fact that they don't assign blame in a legal sense, and (I would suspect) by law their staff is exempt from subpoena in any court case that would deal with fault in an accident.
Full reports and probable cause are not, but factual findings are.
https://www.wilsonelser.com/writable/files/Attorney_Articles_PDFs/016111508wilson-attorney-article.pdf
https://www.jonesday.com/files/Publication/26052bf7-4c92-42f5-8a89-f6a050c3f2b4/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/ad2ea9e4-e287-4498-9614-80411b416d33/NTSB_Aviation_Article.pdf

It makes sense in a sense that someone still needs to work with crash evidence, and NTSB maybe the most qualified party for that. Local police department and DA plainly have no resources to get those facts...
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Beltway

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #167 on: January 17, 2019, 06:53:33 PM »

NTSB officially states that its reports are to be inadmissible in a court of law.  I will have to do more searching to find out exactly how they would enforce that, other than the fact that they don't assign blame in a legal sense, and (I would suspect) by law their staff is exempt from subpoena in any court case that would deal with fault in an accident.
Full reports and probable cause are not, but factual findings are.
https://www.wilsonelser.com/writable/files/Attorney_Articles_PDFs/016111508wilson-attorney-article.pdf
https://www.jonesday.com/files/Publication/26052bf7-4c92-42f5-8a89-f6a050c3f2b4/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/ad2ea9e4-e287-4498-9614-80411b416d33/NTSB_Aviation_Article.pdf
It makes sense in a sense that someone still needs to work with crash evidence, and NTSB maybe the most qualified party for that. Local police department and DA plainly have no resources to get those facts...

Indeed lawyers have been trying for the last 40+ years to find ways to utilize NTSB reports in court proceedings.

When it comes to highway accidents, NTSB doesn't have the staff to investigate anything more than the most high profile accidents, say the top 0.1% in terms of fatalities and/or property damage.  So you can't just pick up the phone and ask for their assistance; they are the ones to make the determination of what to investigate.

It is quite apparent that the Schoharie County District Attorney and the NTSB are having a major dispute over investigation protocols and the use of reports --

Limousine Crash in Schoharie, NY
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/pages/hwy19mh001.aspx
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 07:03:05 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #168 on: January 17, 2019, 07:27:26 PM »

This looks to me to like a turf war of the sort that is par for the course with government entities in New York.

The DA isn't trying to protect anyone or effect some particular outcome to anything... she simply doesn't want the hassle of having to deal with NTSB and feels no obligation to cooperate with them since she doesn't answer to them.
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Beltway

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #169 on: January 17, 2019, 09:38:01 PM »

This looks to me to like a turf war of the sort that is par for the course with government entities in New York.
The DA isn't trying to protect anyone or effect some particular outcome to anything... she simply doesn't want the hassle of having to deal with NTSB and feels no obligation to cooperate with them since she doesn't answer to them.

NTSB has a Congressional mandate to conduct its investigations, as the letters pointed out, and they need access to the vehicle for their investigation, which was being blocked locally.  The federal government will have ways to attempt to force compliance.
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #170 on: January 19, 2019, 12:04:02 AM »

Oh the DA won't win. But she will make them force her to comply rather than doing so willingly.

Turf wars are not necessarily started with the idea of winning them. They can be started simply with the idea of "you're a pain in my ass, so I'm gonna be a pain in your ass".
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #171 on: April 07, 2019, 06:37:10 AM »

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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #172 on: April 08, 2019, 11:26:37 AM »

When it comes to highway accidents, NTSB doesn't have the staff to investigate anything more than the most high profile accidents

Actually, the NTSB investigates many highway, rail, and marine accidents that don't involve either fatalities or major property damage.  The findings in many of these accidents are presented in a 'brief' instead of a full report.  However, investigation of most accidents is discretionary.  With lesser accidents, the NTSB tends to investigate only those where it is suspected the probable cause may be related to an item on their Watchlist.  The exception is aircraft accidents.  As part of the legislation that created the NTSB, there is a requirement that the NTSB investigate every accident or incident involving a civilian or commercial aircraft, no matter how minor (yes, even the Cessna that lands at a small airport and veers off the runway onto the grass with no injuries automatically warrants an NTSB investigation).  This mandate is one of the reasons why the NTSB staff is stretched so thin.
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #173 on: May 26, 2019, 01:07:39 PM »

Braking news (pun intended):
According to the expert hired by State Police, the sole cause of the accident [..] is "catastrophic brake failure"
I have a hard time interpreting that statement...
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Re: Fatal crash in Schoharie, New York - 20 persons dead
« Reply #174 on: May 26, 2019, 10:30:29 PM »

Braking news (pun intended):
According to the expert hired by State Police, the sole cause of the accident [..] is "catastrophic brake failure"
I have a hard time interpreting that statement...

And what caused the 'catastrophic brake failure'?

Mike
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