Oct 11, 2018, 8:12 AM ET

Son of limo company owner charged with negligent homicide after New York crash that killed 20: Police

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The son of the owner of the limousine company involved in the deadly crash in upstate New York that left 20 dead has been arrested, according to state police and his lawyer.

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Shahad Hussein, the owner of Prestige Limousine, the company that rented out the stretch limo, is currently in Pakistan but he left the day-to-day operations of the company to his son, Nauman Hussain.

He was charged with criminally negligent homicide, police said.

A source familiar with the matter told ABC News that he is being charged because he put a defective vehicle back on the road and hired a driver he knew was not properly licensed.

Hussain pleaded not guilty and was released on bail Wednesday night.

The family of the driver, Scott Lisinicchia, said that he had a chauffeur's license.

The development comes shortly after it was revealed that Lisinicchia had been cited in August for operating the same limousine without the proper license, according to the New York State Police.

The Oct. 6 crash killed Lisinicchia, the 17 passengers and two pedestrians.

Lisinicchia's driving history and the safety record of the vehicle are under scrutiny as federal and state officials investigate the crash.

On Aug. 25, a state trooper with the commercial vehicle enforcement unit stopped a 2001 Ford Excursion stretched limousine in Saratoga Springs. Lisinicchia was behind the wheel.

PHOTO: The scene of a deadly limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., Oct. 6, 20Peter R. Barber/The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y.
The scene of a deadly limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., Oct. 6, 20

The state trooper issued violations Prestige Limousine and advised both Lisinicchia and the company that he "could not operate the limousine without additional licensure," a state police source told ABC News.

The source said the trooper also took steps to ensure the vehicle was taken off the road, returning it to its original location and directing the driver not to drive the limousine.

This comes after Lisinicchia's family said he had expressed concerns about the company's cars in the past.

PHOTO: The scene of a deadly limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., Oct. 6, 2018.Peter R. Barber/The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y.
The scene of a deadly limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., Oct. 6, 2018.

Richard Burke, a spokesperson for the Lisinicchia family, told ABC News that Lisinicchia's wife said "he had complained to her regarding the condition of some of the vehicles. In fact they said that one time he was driving one of the vehicle’s and a muffler fell off with clients in the car and he had to stop the car, get out of the car, remove the muffler and move it to the side of the roadway."

A lawyer for the limousine company said the car failed the safety inspection over minor problems.

"As we understand right now, the inspections last month were minor things - windshield wipers, a latch on a window that needed to be fixed - and all those things were fixed," lawyer Lee Kindlon, who represents Prestige Limousines, said on "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Transportation disputed that account, saying the vehicle involved in the Oct. 6 crash failed a Sept. 4 safety inspection.

"The assertion that the limousine was cleared to be on the road following the September inspection is categorically false," the spokesperson said. "The vehicle was subject to inspections and the owner was warned not to operate the vehicle; the vehicle was placed out of service."

With the Aug. 25 traffic stop and the Sept. 4 citation, that means that the vehicle was ordered off the road twice in 10 days.

The investigation into the crash, which National Transportation Safety Board chief Robert Sumwalt said is the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. since August 2009, is ongoing.

News - Son of limo company owner charged with negligent homicide after New York crash that killed 20: Police

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  • Mike D

    "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down" -- Oprah Winfrey

  • Xwingfighter1138

    Any bus or limo that fails inspection should be impounded until fixed.

  • Redd Menace

    Safety is way too expensive. Just keep operating and hope for the best.

  • Weazerdogg

    The driver's wife said he used to drive a semi ... unless that is a total lie, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have any trouble with a stretched SUV ... The brakes failed, I'd bet my house on it.

  • FixAutoSA

    The most probable cause of this crash was a defective ABS Brake. How do you stop your car going down hill with no brakes? All the accusations being put forth by "accident investigators" have nothing to do with the crash. Investigators main purpose is to find evidence to convict in many cases the innocent driver.
    This march of the technically challenged investigators started with the Toyota Sudden Acceleration investigation in 2010 where nothing was found to fix the problem. NHTSA recalls were bogus because they could not find the true "root cause" of SA.. The Saylor family all died in a horrific crash similar to this limo crash. Neither driver could stop a speeding car.
    The Chatanooga school bus crash was also caused by a failed ABS Brake where a school bus driver could not control the speed of a school bus going down hill, and technically challenged accident investigators convicted an innocent driver for a defective school bus. The NTSB concluded the driver was at fault investigating numerous details of the driver history, while passing the complex ABS module with a "visual inspection". Please see report on NTSB website.

    Studying crashes for over a decade, my best guess is over 50% of fatalities on the roads are due to defective ABS Brakes. Repetitive inputs to accident investigators, NHTSA, NTSB, Congresspersons at the local and national level, and traffic safety institutions do not respond with any serious questions.
    My opinion is the leaders of the safety institutions be put in prison for outright failure of the job they are funded to do. Crashes and fatalities continue to rise as innocent drivers are sent to prison.

  • The Terminator

    I haven't seen this on the national news.

    The owner got arrested for something to do with driver licenses.

    He made a deal with the FBI to become a CI.

    He was the guy that pretended to be a arms dealer and sell ground to air missile to Arab terrorist in Albany NY. I believe they got 19 years.

  • The Terminator

    Due to this event another company in Albany with a similar company name "Prestige Car Service" had to shut down and take down their website. Because of death threats.

  • RoadBlock

    Where's the scofflaw that was making "poor me" excuses for the driver?

  • Weather3014

    "The development comes shortly after it was revealed that Lisinicchia had been cited in August for operating the same limousine without the proper license, according to the New York State Police."

    At first I thought that the driver was a victim, but if he knowingly operated the same vehicle again without the proper license, then he is as much at fault as the limo company for putting that death trap on the road. I am sure that the family of the limo driver is going to sue the limo company, but they should recover nothing.

  • (((Rocket Cat)))

    Now, that's what i call criminal negligence.

  • Patricia Colaneri

    Just to make a few extra bucks he completely disregarded both morality and legality, and nineteen innocent people (the driver was not an innocent!) were needlessly slaughtered. The grief that this man's greed has caused is beyond one's imagining.

  • Dicazi

    After the duck boat tragedy in Branson, I will never get in one of them.
    After reading about this and how limos are made without any added safety features, I'll never get in one of them, either.

  • TexasVulcan

    This business will be hugely liable. Think they carried enough insurance for this kind of suit? Don't bet on it.

  • Dicazi

    Don't you have to have a vehicle that failed reinspected before it's allowed to be back in service? If not, it should be a rule.

    The driver was reportedly an ex-trucker who retired because of hip problems. It seems he should have easily been able to get a license for carrying over 15 passengers.

  • gs12

    Any bets on daddy ever coming back home.

  • Bill William

    Homicide? What a joke, they will never prove that. The driver, who is dead, is the one who was responsible unless there was some type of mechanical failure.

  • Dan

    Can the US extradite the owner back to the United States to face charges?

  • WorkingClass

    "Lisinicchia's driving history and the safety record of the vehicle are under scrutiny as federal and state officials investigate the crash." -- I hope they're checking the driver's phone records as well. Was he texting at the time of the crash?

  • Bill Exley

    This crash was caused by the guy going too fast when he didn't know the area. Minor safety violations did not cause this crash. Blowing a stop sign at a T intersection did.