accident disasters-accidents/new-york;united-states/crash properties traffic-accident traffic-fatalities

New York Limo Crash: Limo owner’s son charged with criminally negligent homicide following deadly crash

New York Limo Crash: Son of vehicle owner in state police custody

SCHOHARIE, New York (WABC) —

A limousine service operator was charged Wednesday with criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed 20 individuals, whereas police continued investigating what prompted the wreck and whether or not anybody else will face fees.

Nauman Hussain, 28, confirmed little emotion as he was arraigned Wednesday night in an Albany-area courtroom, and he ignored shouted questions from reporters as he left after posting $150,000 bond. A decide had entered a not responsible plea for him.

Earlier, his lawyer stated that Hussain wasn’t responsible and that police have been dashing to judgment in investigating Saturday’s stretch limo wreck .

However State Police Superintendent George Seashore stated Hussain employed a driver who should not have been behind the wheel of such a automotive, and the car should not have been pushed after state inspectors deemed it “unserviceable” final month.

“The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain,” Seashore stated, although he famous that investigators proceed wanting into whether or not anybody else ought to be held accountable within the crash.

Hussain’s automotive was packed with baggage when he was stopped Wednesday on a freeway close to Albany, Schoharie County District Lawyer Susan Mallery stated.

Hussain’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, stated his shopper felt unsafe at house as a result of he’d gotten threats.

The corporate, Status Limousine, has come beneath intense scrutiny since a 19-seater limo ran a cease signal and plowed right into a parked SUV on the backside of an extended hill Saturday. The influence killed two pedestrians and 18 individuals within the limo, which was taking a gaggle to a birthday bash.

Kindlon stated his shopper dealt with solely advertising duties and telephone calls, whereas his father ran the corporate, although police referred to as Hussain its operator.

“My client is not guilty,” Kindlon stated. “The police jumped the gun in charging him with any crime.”

The collision occurred in Schoharie, 25 miles west of Albany, which is a well-liked spot with vacationers taking within the fall foliage. Witnesses reporting our bodies on the bottom and damaged tree limbs in all places.

Among the many victims have been newlyweds, younger mother and father, 4 sisters and their buddies.

RELATED: Remembering these killed within the Schoharie crash

Reviews present that the limousine had failed a security inspection final month partially due to a brake malfunction, ABC Information stories.

Inspection data reviewed by ABC Information present that the car acquired a violation for “ABS malfunction indicators for hydraulic brake system.” State transportation officers declined to right away elaborate.

The inspection document exhibits six violations from the limousine’s September four inspection, together with a violation for “failure to correct defects noted on the previous inspection report.” Status Limousine, which owns the car, had 22 violations up to now two years, and New York State has moved to close down the proprietor, Status Limousine.

Not solely did the limo fail a security inspection, however the driver wasn’t correctly licensed, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated Monday.

“In my opinion, the owner of this company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road,” the governor stated whereas attending a Columbus Day Parade in New York Metropolis. “Prestige has a lot of questions to answer.”

The crash got here three years after one other deadly stretch-limo wreck in New York state spurred requires Cuomo to look at such automobiles’ security. It was not clear whether or not the state took any steps to take action.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo discusses deadly limo crash

The lawyer for Status Limo, Lee Kindlon, spoke out on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday saying:

“We understand what the governor is saying, what the DOT is saying, certainly it is in their interests to point away from any failures on behalf of the state. But as we understand right now, the inspections last month were minor things, windshield wipers, a latch on a windshield that needed to be fixed. And all of those things were fixed and so one of the questions we are trying to help answer is any of those safety problems could have contributed to the crash. We want to make everybody know right now we are doing everything we can to answer those questions, along with the state.”

In response to the GMA look, the New York State Division of Transportation launched a press release, saying that these claims are outright false.

“The assertion that the limousine was cleared to be on the road following the September inspection is categorically false. The vehicle was subject to inspections and the owner was warned not to operate the vehicle; the vehicle was placed out of service,” the assertion learn.

Scott Lisinicchia, the driving force within the deadly crash, was pulled over in the identical limo on August 25 on Weibel Avenue in Saratoga Springs, the place state police decided he didn’t have the right license to drive it.

Police additionally notified Lisinicchia’s employer, Status Limousine, that he “could not operate the vehicle without additional licensure.” The police additionally took steps to make sure that the car was taken off the street, returned to its unique location and directed the driving force to not drive the car.”

The notification was made to Nauman Hussain, the son of the owner of Prestige Limo. Nauman Hussain was also informed that the vehicle was not properly registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Lisinicchia’s family also spoke out after the crash, saying they believe his employer gave him an unsafe vehicle to drive.

The wife of Lisinicchia has retained the law offices of Grant & Longworth of Dobbs Ferry, New York, which released the following statement Tuesday:

The Lisinicchia family is devastated by the horrific tragedy that occurred in Schoharie and their prayers go out to all the families that lost loved ones. They are mourning their husband, father and brother, and they are also grieving for the other innocent souls who lost their lives. Mrs. Lisinicchia’s husband Scott was a loving and caring man who never would have knowingly put others in harm’s way. The family believes that unbeknownst to him he was provided with a vehicle that was neither roadworthy nor safe for any of its occupants. We ask all members of the media and public to reserve judgment on the cause of the crash until the New York State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board complete their investigations. Both agencies include some of the most highly skilled and well-trained accident investigators in the country. We also ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this most difficult time.

The 19-seat vehicle had at least some seat belts, but it was unclear whether anyone was wearing them, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. It is not yet known if it was caused by a vehicle malfunction, operator error or some other factor. Investigators have yet to determine whether the driver tried to brake.

The wreck left no skid marks investigators could see, but that might be due to misty weather or anti-lock brakes, Sumwalt said.

Investigators were conducting autopsies, including on the driver, to see if drugs or alcohol were factors, and the NTSB was also looking into whether the limo had any mechanical problems.
Police seized three additional vehicles from the limo company as part of the ongoing criminal investigation.

ABC News also reported Monday that the registered owner of the limousine that crashed over the weekend was once an FBI informant.

Shahed Hussain testified as part of two terrorism cases, including a 2009 sting operation that disrupted an alleged plot to bomb a Bronx synagogue. The other case was out of Albany and involved terrorism financing.

Hussain became an informant in 2002 after he was arrested on fraud charges while working for the state DMV.

He was caught helping immigrants cheat on driver’s tests and cooperated with the FBI in order to avoid deportation to Pakistan, ABC News reported.

It is believed Hussain has in recent years gone back to Pakistan, leaving his sons to run the company.

Witnesses, neighbors and family members of the victims were left grieving and trying to piece it all together.

The crash “appeared like an explosion,” said Linda Riley, of nearby Schenectady, who was on a shopping trip with her sisters and had been in their parked car at the time at the store. When she got out of her vehicle, she saw a body on the ground, she said. People started screaming.

The store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times that the limo was coming down a hill at “in all probability over 60 mph.”

In a Facebook post on Saturday, the store thanked emergency responders for their actions. The store posted Sunday that it was open “and will use your hugs.”

The sister of one victim, Amanda Halse, said she was killed with her boyfriend, Patrick Cushing.

“My sister was somebody who was very spontaneous and simply favored to have a whole lot of enjoyable,” said Karina Halse, victim’s sister. “She was only a nice human being throughout. She simply needed to ensure everybody was completely happy. She was one of the best sister I ever might have had in my life, I am so grateful that I had her and I’ll cherish her reminiscence perpetually.”

Speaking through tears, Valerie Abeling, said her niece Erin Vertucci was among the victims, with her newlywed husband, Shane McGowan, and were on their way to the birthday party of a friend when the crash occurred. She said her own daughter had been invited along but couldn’t go.

“She was a phenomenal, candy soul; he was too,” Abeling said. She said the couple was married at a “lovely wedding ceremony” in June at a venue in upstate New York. “That they had every thing going for them.”

Vertucci was 34, McGowan 30. They met through Abeling’s daughter. Vertucci, who grew up in Amsterdam, New York, was an administrative assistant at St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam.

“This is likely one of the largest losses of life that we have seen in an extended, very long time,” Sumwalt stated, the deadliest since February 2009 when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York, killing 50 individuals.

Questions of safety on such automobiles have arisen earlier than, most notably after the wreck on Lengthy Island in July 2015 through which 4 ladies on a vineyard tour have been killed.

They have been in a Lincoln City Automotive that had been minimize aside and rebuilt in a stretch configuration to accommodate extra passengers. The limousine was making an attempt to make a U-turn and was struck by a pickup.

A grand jury discovered that automobiles transformed into stretch limousines typically do not have security measures together with side-impact air luggage, strengthened rollover safety bars and accessible emergency exits. That grand jury referred to as on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to assemble a activity drive on limousine security.

Limousines inbuilt factories are already required to satisfy stringent security laws, however when automobiles are transformed into limos, security options are typically eliminated, resulting in gaps in security protocols, the grand jury wrote.

(The Related Press contributed to this report.)

———-
* Comply with us on YouTube
* Extra native information
* Ship us a information tip
* Obtain the abc7NY app for breaking information alerts

(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)