Limo Crash Site

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

State Police Arrest, Charge Son Of Limo Owner In Upstate Crash

October 10, 2018 - 12:16 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- The operator of a limousine company involved in a crash that killed 20 people over the weekend in upstate New York has been arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide, New York State Police said.

The arrest was announced in a brief press release Wednesday afternoon. It says Nauman Hussain, operator of Prestige Limousine, was taken into custody following a traffic stop on I-787 near Albany. Hussain is the son of the owner of the limo company, Shaheed Hussain.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, state police said it was Nauman Hussain’s sole responsibility for why the limo in the Schoharie crash was on the road.

“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,” said New York State Police Supt. George Beach.

Beach said Hussain received written notices from the state Department of Transportation that both the driver was not trained to drive the type of limo that was involved in the crash, and that the limo was not roadworthy.

“He was cited with the violations. He knew this,” Beach said. “The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain,” Beach said.

Shaheed Hussain could also face charges, but he is now in Pakistan, and for the moment out of the reach of state police, Smeltz reported.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon in Schoharie. Four sisters, their husbands and other friends were on their way to a 30th birthday party Saturday when their limousine ran a stop sign and plowed into a parked SUV. All 17 passengers, the driver and two men standing in a store parking lot were killed.

Investigators also say the driver of the limo did not have a proper license. 

The wife of a limousine driver says her late husband expressed concerns about the company's vehicles.

Kim Lisinicchia tells CBS in an interview broadcast Wednesday that her husband, Scott, stated several times that he needed a different vehicle but then trusted the company's assurances that its "cars were all right.''

Prestige Limousine has been criticized for maintaining vehicles rife with violations and for employing a driver lacking a commercial license.

Prestige's lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said safety issues had been corrected. He says the driver might have misjudged his ability to stop at the bottom of a hill Saturday in Schoharie, New York.

Lisinicchia says her husband was "in excellent health'' and drove a tractor-trailer for 20 years.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)