Prosecutor: Limo company operator knew of vehicle problems
SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — The limousine company operator charged in an upstate New York crash that killed 20 people was aware of prior passenger complaints about the ill-fated vehicle and had even refunded fares, prosecutors say.
In a document filed last week in the case against Nauman Hussain, Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery also said individuals had refused to drive the 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limousine because of its poor condition.
The document was filed in response to the defense team’s request for a “bill of particulars” about the state’s case against Hussain.
Hussain faces 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the Oct. 6 crash in rural Schoharie. State police have said the limo should have been taken out of service based on brake issues identified in a September inspection.
Attorney Lee Kindlon said Wednesday that the defense team won’t comment on individual pieces of evidence before trial, set for September. Hussain has pleaded not guilty and remains free on $450,000 bond.
The court filing also accuses Hussain of being reckless in hiring Scott Lisinicchia to drive the limousine because Lisinicchia wasn’t authorized to drive a 16-passenger vehicle and wasn’t listed on the vehicle’s insurance policy. Lisinicchia died in the crash along with all 17 passengers and two pedestrians.
The passengers were heading from Amsterdam to Cooperstown for a birthday celebration when the limousine blew through a stop sign and crashed beside a country store.
In the court filing, prosecutors said Hussain allowed passengers to ride in the limousine despite having received “multiple notices of violations” from the state and having been told by “third parties” that repairs were inadequate.