In the wake of a horrific limousine crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York, the victims’ loved ones are working to care for the families they left behind.
Abby and Adam Jackson were among nearly two dozen people who lost their lives on Saturday when a “party” limousine they were traveling in failed to stop at an intersection and collided with another vehicle around 1:55 p.m. in Schoharie, New York, reports say.
“Adam and Abby were amazing parents to these girls and taken much too soon,” a family friend wrote in a GoFundMe page set up for the couple’s children. “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.”
Adam and Abby leave behind two daughters, Archer, 4, and 16-month-old Ellie. A friend of the couple launched the fundraiser to cover expenses and serve as a college fund for the children. As of Monday morning, nearly 1,000 people donated more than $53,000 of the $75,000 goal.
Photos on the couple’s Facebook pages show Abby and Adam smiling wide as they cuddled close and posed with their children. Abby was a teacher in the Amsterdam School District, according to The Times Union. A state official said that “most” of the crash victims were from the Amsterdam area and the Times Union reported that school district officials set up a grief counseling space for families of the victims.
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Abby’s sisters, Amy Steenburg, Mary Dyson and Allison King, also died in the crash, according to the New York Times. Although police are still in the early stages of an investigation into the crash, New York State Police said in a Sunday news conference that the limousine, a 2011 Ford Excursion, went across the intersection and into a parking lot where it hit a parked 2015 Toyota Highlander.
The limousine ultimately fell into a ravine, according to the Daily Gazette. Everyone in the vehicle, 18 people, died in the crash and two nearby pedestrians were struck and killed, state police said during the news conference.
The group of friends had gathered to celebrate Amy’s 30th birthday party, Barbara Douglas, an aunt of the four sisters, told NBC News.
“They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn’t be driving,” Douglas told the site. She added that the sisters’ parents are devastated: “My brother and his wife are just overwrought. I don’t know how to say it. Can’t wrap your head around such a tragedy where you have four of your daughters die.”
Among the dead are Amy’s husband, Axel Steenburg, and Axel’s brother, Rich Steenburg. A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral cost for the men.
“Rich, Axel and other friends and family passed in an unfortunate party bus accident,” the friend wrote on the page. “It is beyond devastating for everyone who knew them all.”
The account featured several photos of the tight-knit brothers smiling and posing together. The page included photos of Rich’s young daughter, who the friend called, “Daddy’s little girl.”
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Rich leaves behind his 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson, according to the Times. They both worked for GlobalFoundries, which produces semiconductors, according to the publication.
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Amy and Axel got married on June 30, 2018, her Facebook page indicates. And the pair seemed to be enjoying married life, sharing sweet wedding photos and gushing over each other on their accounts.
“I just wanted to say Axel Steenburg I love you more than words can say!” Amy wrote in a post on Oct. 3, just three days before the accident. “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.”
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