Son of Prestige Limousine owner charged with criminally negligent homicide

Nauman Hussain (New York State Police)

UPDATE (3:20 p.m.) -- Investigators have charged Nauman Hussain, 28, with criminally negligent homicide in connection to the deadliest U.S. transportation crash in almost a decade.

State police announced the charges at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. They say Hussain, who was running Prestige Limousine in his father's absence, was issued written violations by New York State Police and the New York State Department of Transportation that the driver involved in Saturday's deadly crash should not have been operating the type of vehicle involved in Saturday's crash.

Additionally, investigators say NYSDOT placed the limousine out of service in September, and it should not have been on the road when it crashed Saturday afternoon in Schoharie, killing all 18 people in the vehicle and two pedestrians.

Hussain, the son of the owner of the limousine company, was taken into custody Wednesday during a "controlled traffic stop." Police say his father remains out of the country. The investigation is ongoing.

Hussain's lawyer, Lee Kindlon, says investigators have "jumped the gun," and his client is not responsible for the deaths. Kindlon says they continue to cooperate with police and the NTSB who are still determining the exact cause of the crash.

According to State Police, the limousine was on its way to a birthday party ran a stop sign at the end of a highway. The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie around 2 p.m. Saturday when it failed to stop at a T-junction with state Route 30A, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Christopher Fiore said at a news conference in Latham, New York.

It went across the road and hit an unoccupied SUV parked at the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing the driver and 17 passengers, as well as two people outside the vehicle.

New York State Police identified the victims on Tuesday.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Monday, the limo had not passed a recent New York state DMV inspection, and the driver did not have the appropriate driver’s license to be operating that vehicle.

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