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The Latest: NTSB gets access to crash limo under court deal

Published
FILE - This Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, shows the wreckage of a limousine, partially hidden in the woods, following a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. More than three months after 20 people died in the crash, federal safety investigators have yet to get their hands on the most crucial piece of evidence, the wrecked vehicle itself. (Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File)

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — The Latest on the standoff between federal inspectors and a prosecutor over limousine in fatal crash (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Federal investigators will be able to perform a hands-on inspection of a limousine that crashed in New York state and killed 20 people within the next two weeks under a court agreement.

The agreement reached in Schoharie County court Tuesday should end a public feud between National Transportation Safety Board and the criminal prosecutor over access to the limousine that crashed Oct. 6.

Under the deal, NTSB can immediately make a visual inspection of the limousine. Then police experts will be clear to remove the limo's transmission and torque converter. The NTSB can proceed with a hands-on inspection after that.

District Attorney Susan Mallery had argued that her criminal case against the limousine company's operator takes precedence over the federal investigation. The NTSB said Mallery has blocked its investigators.

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11 a.m.

Federal safety inspectors are telling a judge they need to examine a limousine that was involved in a rural upstate New York crash that killed 20 people before police remove crucial parts of the vehicle.

Schoharie County Judge George Bartlett is hearing arguments Tuesday over the National Transportation Safety Board's access to the limousine that crashed Oct. 6 west of Albany.

A lawyer for state police says the limo's transmission and torque converter must be removed by police experts before NTSB does its examination. NTSB argues that its protocol must be done first.

District Attorney Susan Mallery asserts her criminal case against the limousine company's operator takes precedence over the federal investigation. The NTSB says Mallery has blocked its investigators.

They say they can do their work in two days.

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5:55 a.m.

Federal safety inspectors are going to court to remove a roadblock in their investigation of a limousine crash that killed 20 people nearly four months ago.

Schoharie County Judge George Bartlett will hear arguments Tuesday over National Transportation Safety Board access to the limousine that crashed Oct. 6 in rural Schoharie.

County District Attorney Susan Mallery asserts her criminal case against the limousine company's operator takes precedence over the federal investigation. The NTSB says Mallery has blocked its investigators from getting with 15 feet (4.5 meters) of the wreckage.

Bartlett scheduled a court hearing to hash out an agreement, saying "This standoff must come to an end."

If an agreement isn't reached, the judge says he'll make a decision allowing federal access.

FILE - This Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, shows the wreckage of a limousine, partially hidden in the woods, following a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. More than three months after 20 people died in the crash, federal safety investigators have yet to get their hands on the most crucial piece of evidence, the wrecked vehicle itself. (Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File)
FILE - This Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, shows the wreckage of a limousine, partially hidden in the woods, following a fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y. More than three months after 20 people died in the crash, federal safety investigators have yet to get their hands on the most crucial piece of evidence, the wrecked vehicle itself. (Tom Heffernan Sr. via AP, File)