The son of the man who owned the limousine company whose vehicle was involved in the death of 20 people several days ago in a fatal crash in Schoharie, New York was charged by authorities on Wednesday with criminally negligent homicide, according to a New York State Police statement.
CNN reported that Nauman Hussain, whose father, Shahed, owns Prestige Limousine Chauffeur Service, was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 787. Nauman Hussain is an “operator” for Prestige, police said.
As the younger Hussain was being process by NYS troopers in Latham, the attorney who represents the Prestige Limo company, Lee Kindlon, claimed that he was innocent of all charges leveled against him.
Asked if he knew whether police planned to arrest Shahed Hussain, Kindlon replied, “I had no idea that this guy was going to be charged today,” as was reported by CNN.
Shahed Hussain handled the company’s day-to-day operations, including maintenance, Kindlon said, while Nauman Hussain handled some marketing and booking, answered the phone and had “very little involvement” in the company, according to the CNN report.
Kindlon expressed frustration over the charges, saying it would hamper his clients’ abilities to provide information in the investigation into the crash. They had previously been cooperating with police and state and federal officials, he said.
The attorney accused state police of “jumping the gun.”
“Frankly, now my criminal defense side has to jump into action, and unfortunately, from this point I have to advise my clients it’s their right to remain silent and, at least right now, we can’t cooperate with the investigation going forward,” he said.
He said the state faces potential liability in the crash — there have been questions, for instance, about the safety of the intersection where the crash occurred — and suggested the arrest was the state’s way of saying, “Look over there. It’s not our fault.”
For its part, the state Department of Transportation concurs with Cuomo, and federal records from a September inspection indicate the automobile was deemed unfit to drive.
According to a New York Post report, Andrew LaRose, an upstate New York resident, who along with his wife had rented the same limo and driver that were involved in the fatal crash on a previous occasion. The NYP report said that LaRose claimed the limo “shoulda been in the scrap yard.”
Speaking to station WNYT-TV in Albany, LaRose described the limo rented from the Prestige company as “rusty” and “held together by duct tape” when driver Scott Lisinicchia showed up for his wedding one year ago.
“Air conditioner was broken, there was duct tape that was painted white, rocker panels were painted, it looked like it had been through a chop shop,” LaRose told the network.
LaRose and his bride were also miffed that the driver had arrived late to pick them up from their wedding reception. They added that they were quite concerned when they saw that Lisinicchia was also driving erratically.
“I noticed there were empty beer cans in the back. I noticed that he had a second passenger sitting shotgun right next to him,” LaRose said.
“Then I asked him ‘who was this’ and he got pretty upset with me.”
While driving, Lisinicchia missed an exit and went in reverse right on the highway, La Rose added.
He made numerous complaints to the company, he said, and eventually was reimbursed for half the cost., according to the Post report.
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