The operator of the limo company responsible for the Ford Excursion that crashed and killed 20 people earlier this week has been charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Nauman Hussain, 28, was arrested by police yesterday. He has since been released on bail after posting the required $150,000 and was forced to hand over his U.S. passport. The judge has entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, CBS Local reports.
New York State Police Superintendent George Beach claims that Hussain is solely responsible for the limousine being on the streets despite failing safety inspections.
“Hussain, the operator of Prestige Limo in Saratoga County, was issued written violations by the New York State Police and the New York State Department of Transportation that the driver he hired should not have been operating the type of vehicle involved in Saturday’s crash.
“Also, that vehicle was placed out of service by the Department of Transportation in September of this year and should not have been on the road,” Beach said.
This was the deadliest U.S. transport accident in almost a decade.
Nauman Hussain’s father, Shahed Hussain, is the owner of Prestige Limousine but was in Pakistan at the time of the fatal crash.
The felony complaint against Nauman Hussain asserts that he hired driver Scott Lisinicchia despite knowing that he didn’t have the correct license to operate such a vehicle. Additionally, it is claim that Hussain knew or should have known about issues with the vehicle which would have affected the brakes.
Prestige Limousine’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, claims that the safety violations issued last month on the customized excursion were minor and hadn’t caused the crash.
The vehicle sped through a stop sign at a highway intersection in Schohaire, crashing into an unoccupied parked vehicle and striking two pedestrians. All 17 passengers of the limousine, the driver, and the two pedestrians were killed.
Prestige Limousine attempted to sell the Ford Excursion on Craigslist just two days before the fatal crash for $9000.