Limo Operator Held ‘Personally’ Responsible for Deadly Crash Which Killed 20

A former upstate limo operator who rented out the ride involved in the horrific 2018 crash that killed 20 people bears “personal responsibility” for the disaster, prosecutors said during opening arguments at his trial Monday.

Nauman Hussain, 33, the former operator of Prestige Limousine, faces 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide in the Oct. 6, 2018 catastrophe that killed 17 revelers on their way to a surprise birthday party in Cooperstown, as well as the driver and two bystanders who were outside a Schohaire convenience store.

“This case is about personal responsibility,” Fred Rench, a special prosecutor assigned to the case, told jurors in Schoharie County Court, according to a report by the Albany Times-Union.

“The evidence will show [that] Mr. Hussain was made aware of his responsibility again and again and again in the months leading up to the crash,” Rench said. “Mr. Hussain’s choices led to the accident that caused the deaths of 20 people on Oct. 6, 2018.”

Police said the rented stretch limo, a modified 2001 Ford Excursion, careened down a hill at up to 100 mph, sped through an intersection and smashed into a car outside the Apple Barrel County Store & Cafe, striking the two bystanders and killing everyone in the vehicle.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine involved in the deadly 2018 crash.
The modified 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo involved in the deadly Oct. 6, 2018, upstate crash that killed 20 people had faulty brakes and had not been properly inspected in as long as two years, authorities said after the wreck.

None of the passengers were wearing seatbelts at the time. An independent review ordered up by State Police and the Schoharie County District Attorney’s Office determined that the Prestige limo had faulty brakes and had not undergone a state safety inspection for as long as two years before the incident.

Hussain’s lawyer told jurors Monday that a local repair shop and state Department of Transportation inspectors — not his client — should be held responsible for the deadly crash.

Attorney Lee Kindlon said the 31-foot limo should have been inspected and was even involved in a crash in the Mavis auto repair shop parking lot in June 2017 that a DOT investigator had been aware of.

“The accident was caused by the fraud and failure of Mavis to fix the brakes,” Kindlon said. “They know that they should be sitting here instead of Nauman Hussain.”

Hussain, the son of limo company owner Shahed Hussain, a former FBI informant, was charged with criminally negligent homicide in the tragic wreck and later released on a $150,000 bond.

The younger Hussain cut a plea deal with prosecutors in 2021 that allowed him to dodge prison — but the agreement was nixed by a judge and upheld by an appellate court, opening the way for this week’s trial in at the Schoharie County Courthouse in Saratoga County.

Jury selection in the emotionally-charged case dragged on for five days, as prosecutors and defense lawyers weeded through 200 potential jurors before selecting the final panel of 16.

Violations found in 2001 Ford Excursion limo involved in 2018 crash.
The modified 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo involved in the Oct. 6, 2018 upstate crash.

The tumult continued on Monday morning, when one of the jurors was dismissed before opening arguments, according to the Times-Union.

The 2018 tragedy was the deadliest US transportation crash in at least a decade.

It inspired a package of measures approved by lawmakers in Albany that boosted safety requirements for stretch limousine operators.

The trial is expected to last five weeks.

3 thoughts on “Limo Operator Held ‘Personally’ Responsible for Deadly Crash Which Killed 20

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  1. If this guy was NOT driving the vehicle, how can he be criminally responsible? His insurance should cover everything. The driver of the vehicle should be held accountable, but I guess he died in his own accident. Since the company had the vehicle serviced by a retail repair facility if they failed to repair items and did not notify the owner of the vehicle, then the owner is innocent of all charges.

  2. neither do the politicians that take an oath to “We the People”. Hitlery Clinton’s famous quote “no one is above the law”

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