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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Nauman Hussain is brought into Cobleskill Town, N.Y., court for arraignment Wednesday. Hussain was charged with criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed 20 people Saturday in Schoharie, N.Y.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 1:00 am

Operator of limo firm charged in fatal crash

Associated Press

LATHAM, N.Y. – A limousine service operator was charged Wednesday with criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed 20 people, while police continued investigating what caused the wreck and whether anyone else will face charges.

The operator's lawyer said that the man wasn't guilty and that police were rushing to judgment.

The company, Prestige Limousine, has come under intense scrutiny since Saturday's crash outside Albany killed two pedestrians and 18 people in a super-stretch limo.

Prestige Limousine operator Nauman Hussain hired a driver who shouldn't have been behind the wheel of such a car, and the vehicle shouldn't have been driven after state inspectors deemed it “unserviceable” last month, state police Superintendent George Beach said at a news conference.

“The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain,” Beach said.

As Hussain, 28, awaited arraignment, his lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said his client handled only marketing duties and phone calls, while his father ran the company, though police called Hussain its operator.

“My client is not guilty,” Kindlon said.

Under New York law, criminally negligent homicide involves not perceiving a substantial, unjustifiable risk that leads to someone's death. It's punishable by up to four years in prison.

Police charged Hussain with a single count involving all 20 victims.

Prestige Limousine owner Shahed Hussain, has a history with law enforcement – as a government informant in terror plot probes after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In Saturday's crash, a 19-seater Prestige limo ran a stop sign and plowed into a parked SUV at the bottom of a long hill in Schoharie, about 25 miles west of Albany.