Lives ‘cut way too short’: All 20 victims of upstate NY limo crash identified

NEW YORK — All 20 victims of a deadly crash in upstate New York were identified Tuesday. Of those killed were 17 passengers in a limo who were on their way to celebrate a birthday.

Those attending the birthday celebration included a close-knit group of newlyweds, artists, athletes and young parents. Four were sisters.

The limo failed inspection. And the driver wasn't properly licensed.

"Everyone's lives were cut way too short, and I don't know what to say about it. It just hurts," Karina Halse told CNN on Monday while visiting the scene of the accident where her older sister, Amanda Halse, was killed.

The limo carrying 17 passengers struck two pedestrians. The limo driver, passengers and pedestrians all died.

The names of those identified Tuesday include:

  • Limousine passenger Rachael K. Cavosie, 30, Waterford, N.Y.
  • Limousine passenger Michael C. Ukaj, 33, Johnstown, N.Y.
  • 

Limousine driver 

Scott T. Lisinicchia, 53, Lake George, N.Y.
  • Pedestrian 

Brian Hough, 46, Moravia, N.Y. Hough taught geology at the State University of New York at Oswego.
  • Pedestrian James Schnurr, 70, Kerhonkson, N.Y.

Below are the identifies of the other victims, and what we have learned about them so far:

Amanda Halse and Patrick Cushing

Amanda Halse and Patrick Cushing (Courtesy Karina Halse)

Amanda Halse was an artist. Karina Halse called her the peacekeeper in the family.

"My big sister was so great and she was so wonderful. She was such a spontaneous person and she did whatever she could to have fun with anyone and everyone around her," Karina Halse said.

They had gotten together last weekend to make a day trip to Vermont with their mom.

"It was just a nice get-together for all three of us girls to have a nice day out," Karina Halse said. "It was a nice sendoff, I guess, because that would be the last time I would ever see her in person."

Patrick Cushing, Halse's boyfriend, was also killed in the crash.

Cushing worked in the New York State Senate's Technology Service unit and played for the US Dodgeball team, which described him on Facebook as an amazing friend and "one of the most agile and dominant players in the world."

Justin Cushing said his brother was passionate and goodhearted.

"He had such empathy and kindness. He loved, hugged, and cried with his friends and family like their problems were his, and celebrated with those same family and friends like our successes were his personal goals," he said.

Shane McGowan and Erin Vertucci McGowan

Shane and Erin McGowan married in June, and her aunt said they were "two of the sweetest souls you could ever meet."

"They were both just soul mates because they just radiated love and beauty and how a marriage should be," Valerie Abeling told CNN. "They were just loving and funny and kind and everybody loved them and they were so good together. Their lives were just cut short too soon."

Amy and Axel Steenburg

NY limo victims Amy and Axel Steenburg on their wedding day (Credit Zak Westbrook Films)

Newlyweds Amy and Axel Steenburg also married in June. In her last public Facebook post, she gushed about her husband.

"I just wanted to say Axel Steenburg I love you more than words can say! You are such an amazing man and entertain all my crazy ideas. Even when I move a couch just to move it back to the original place. Thank you for being so kind and loving xo #justbecause #husband," she wrote.

State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara confirmed that Amy Steenburg's sisters Abby Jackson, Mary Dyson, and Allison King were also killed in the crash.

Abby Jackson was a middle school special education teacher in Amsterdam, New York, Santabarbara said.

Rich Steenburg

Rich and Axel Steenburg (GoFundMe)

Steenburg died along with his brother, Axel.

He worked for GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor and manufacturing company.

The New York Times reported that he was survived by a 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson.

"The entire GF community is extremely saddened by this incident and we are working closely with the families to provide comprehensive support," Laura Kelly, the company's vice president of global communications, said in a statement.

Rob and Mary Dyson

Mary Dyson was a coach at a Crossfit gym in Watertown, New York. The gym held a special workout in her honor on Monday.

"She will be cheering us on and laughing at some of us!!" organizers wrote in a post on the gym's Facebook page.

Her husband Rob was also killed.

Matthew Coons and Savannah Devonne

Matthew Coons and Savannah Devonne (GoFundMe)

Coons, of Johnstown, was a weightlifting aficionado described by relatives as a gentleman with a dry wit.

"He had a huge heart, a golden heart," said his aunt, Suzanne Douglass. "He made you laugh so hard until you cried."

Coons lived with Devonne, his girlfriend, and a sister who has two daughters, his nieces.

"He will be sorely missed by his sister and her children," Douglass said. "He made their life very joyful with his very sweet disposition. He also financially supported the household and was also a father figure to his much younger brother."

Abigail and Adam Jackson

The Jacksons left behind two daughters, Archer and Elle, ages 4 and 1. Abby Jackson, as she was known, worked as a teacher in the Greater Amsterdam School District, said her aunt, Barbara Douglas, of Dannemora.

She became a teacher because she loved working with children, Rich Peters, president of the Amsterdam Teachers Association, told the Times Union. "She wanted to help them better their lives," he said.

Adam Jackson worked as a deputy commissioner at the Montgomery County Board of Elections, according to his Facebook page. Abigail was among the four sisters killed.

Allison King

King was killed in the crash along with her three sisters. A Facebook fundraiser created for her parents, Tom and Linda King, had raised more than $132,000 as of Monday evening.

Amanda Rivenburg

Amanda Rivenburg was close to her parents and remembered by friends and coworkers for her sense of humor. She worked for seven years for Living Resources, a New York nonprofit that works with people who have disabilities, serving as assistant director of the organization's day community opportunities program.

Her colleagues came together at work on Monday to share stories about Rivenburg, a gathering that led to both tears and laughter.

"Amanda was loved by all of her coworkers," said Steve Klein, associate executive director of program services at the company. "She was passionate about her work and everyone relied on her for guidance."

Scott Lisinicchia

Scott Lisinicchia (GoFundMe)

Friends and family members identified Lisinicchia as the driver of the limousine on social media. His wife, Kim, posted on Facebook that "it hurts me to a core to have to bury my husband." She linked to a GoFundMe that said Lisinicchia's family "appreciates the love and support to help with his unexpected final expenses."

"The investigation is STILL going on and the facts are not verified," his niece, Courtney Lisinicchia, wrote on Facebook.