Schoharie limo crash witnesses recall ‘white blur’ in testimony


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SCHOHARIE — Jaclyn Schnurr, the Wells College professor who lost both her husband and her father in the Oct. 6, 2018, Schoharie limousine crash, took to the witness stand Thursday in the trial of limo operator Nauman Hussain.

Schnurr said on that Saturday afternoon, she and other members of her extended family were in town for her cousin’s wedding and had all met up in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Cafe hoping to grab something to eat before checking into their hotel. She had arrived with her husband Brian Hough and their son Benjamin in their Toyota Highlander and parked near her brother-in-law’s car on the edge of the lot.

Everyone was in good spirits and glad to get out and stretch their legs and catch up with one another. They decided to get their food to go because the restaurant was so crowded.

“We were all there having fun,” Schnurr told the jury. “We were all just talking because we hadn’t seen each other in a while.”

Waiting for their lunch order, Schnurr’s husband was leaning against the passenger side of their SUV while she and her dad James Schnurr leaned against the other side, talking. She was joking with her father about his upcoming birthday when she started hearing a noise coming from across the highway.

“It was just getting louder and louder,” Schnurr testified under questioning by Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery. “I kept thinking, what is making that noise?”

The noise was the sound of a white 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo coming down Route 30 with 17 passengers aboard. Although Schnurr didn’t know it at the time, the driver had lost control of the vehicle. The limo was headed straight for the intersection of Route 30A — and the parking lot where Schnurr and her family were waiting for their sandwiches.

“I saw a white blur coming toward the car, and I realized that it was probably going to hit us,” Schnurr testified.

It did. The Excursion, which weighed more than 6 tons and had reached a speed in excess of 100 mph coming down the steep hill, struck the Highlander and then veered into a stream bed off…