‘My heart has stopped’ – newly married couple among 20 killed in New York crash

Erin and Shane McGowan
During their wedding Erin and Shane McGowan share a dance. They were among 20 killed in New York road accident. Family photo

Albany, NY – A New York father says he can never come to terms with the tragedy of losing his daughter and son-in-law in a horrific crash that took 20 lives in total.

Erin Vertucci, 34, and Shane McGowan, 30,  were among those killed. They had married in June. They were inside a limo carrying a total of 18 when the vehicle crashed. The chain-reaction crash took the lives of two pedestrians outside a country store and cafe in Schoharie, near Albany.

Newly weds -Erin and Shane McGowan, killed in New York crash. Family handout.

Distraught dad, Anthony Vertucci, said on Facebook: “I don’t even know what to say… just darkness and devastation for my family, Shane’s family and all of the families involved.”

“My heart has stopped. Unspeakable tragedy that I can’t comprehend and will never come to terms with. I just wanted all of you to see pictures of Erin and Shane, these two beautiful and amazing people, on the best and happiest day of their lives..”

Shane’s mom also posted a photo of the couple.

Susan Minicki McGowan said, “Our family will never the same after the tragic deaths of our son Shane and daughter Erin,”

The crash is one of the worst in New York State.

Two of those killed were pedestrians outside a popular country store and cafe known as the Apple Barrel Country Store and cafe.

New York State Police confirmed in a statement that 20 were dead from the accident that occurred at approximately 1:55 p.m. on on Saturday, October 6, 2018 in Schoharie, near Albany.

“911 received reports of a two car motor vehicle accident involving multiple fatalities. The names of the victims are not being released at this time as next of kin are being notified.”

State Police have set up a dedicated phone line to assist family members of the victims. Family members are encouraged to call 1-877-672-4911.

“Numerous personnel from the New York State Police, Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office, as well as multiple fire and EMS agencies responded to the scene.”

“Preliminary investigation reveals that a two car motor vehicle accident occurred at the intersection of State Route 30 and State Route 30A in the town of Schoharie. There are multiple fatalities,” police said earlier.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement on a government website mourning the loss of life.

“My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident on Saturday in Schoharie,” said Cuomo.

“I commend the first responders who arrived on the scene and worked through the night to help. State police are working with federal and local authorities to investigate the crash, and I have directed State agencies to provide every resource necessary to aid in this investigation and determine what led to this tragedy.

“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.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said it had joined the investigation.

The owners of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe said on their Facebook page they are in mourning but will remain open for hugs.

“As you may be aware, there was a horrific accident in front of our business today. First, we want to thank all of the emergency services that responded. We are so thankful for all of you. Our hearts grieve for the victim’s families, our customers who tried to help, and our staff who did everything they could to comfort.”

“We will be open for business for tomorrow. We hope you will come and share your smiles, love, friendship and hugs with us. We also hope you will share your change. We will be collecting donations for our local volunteer emergency services. They are the heroes of our small community.”

“Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone that was affected by the events of today. You will always be part of our family.”

NTSB chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said at a news conference that authorities will investigate the safety aspects of large limos in which front seat occupants are only ones required to wear seatbelts.  He described the accident as one of the worst that he remembers.