KILLER LIMO BUST

Biz owner’s son faces neg­li­gent homi­cide

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY ESHA RAY AND LEONARD GREENE

A trans­porta­tion com­pany oper­a­tor whose bro­ken-down stretch limo crashed up­state and killed 20 peo­ple was ar­rested Wed­nes­day and charged with crim­i­nally neg­li­gent homi­cide.

Nau­man Hus­sain, 28, was pulled over dur­ing a morn­ing traf­fic stop and ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the Satur­day ac­ci­dent by state po­lice who said he was di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for the tragedy. He was a pas­sen­ger in a car driven by his older brother Shahyer. Pros­e­cu­tors said there were sev­eral bags in the ve­hi­cle packed with his be­long­ings.

Of­fi­cials said the cause of the crash that killed the driver, 17 pas­sen­gers and two peo­ple in a packed Schoharie park­ing is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But they said this much is clear: Hus­sain put a driver with­out the proper pa­per­work be­hind the wheel of a shoddy SUV that had no busi­ness be­ing on the road.

“The driver he hired should not have been op­er­at­ing the type of ve­hi­cle," said State Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Ge­orge Beach. “He was cited with the vi­o­la­tions. He knew this. The sole re­spon­si­bil­ity for that mo­tor ve­hi­cle be­ing on the road on Satur­day rests with Nau­man Hus­sain. That ve­hi­cle was placed out of ser­vice by the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion in Septem­ber of this year and should not have been on the road."

Sources said the ve­hi­cle was af­fixed with a large sticker af­ter the failed in­spec­tion deem­ing it out of ser­vice. “This ve­hi­cle is NOT to be op­er­ated un­til re­paired,” the sticker read.

Hus­sain, whose fa­ther owns the Wil­ton, N.Y.-based Pres­tige Limou­sine com­pany, was pulled over along In­ter­state 787 in Water­vliet as he was rid­ing with Shahyer. It was not the first time the sib­lings were in a car to­gether dur­ing a traf­fic stop.

About four years ago, the broth­ers, who look alike, pre­tended to be each other when they were pulled over with­out

iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with Shahyer be­hind the wheel, of­fi­cials said.

The two were ar­rested af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that Shahyer's li­cense was re­voked and had 28 sus­pen­sions, he'd used his brother's iden­tity be­fore and that com­bined, the duo had been tick­eted more than 70 times.

Hus­sain's fa­ther, Sha­hed Hus­sain, is cur­rently out of the coun­try. His com­pany owned the 2001 Ford Ex­cur­sion that blew a stop sign, cut through the park­ing lot of the Ap­ple Bar­rel Coun­try Store and slammed into an em­bank­ment, killing all aboard and two pedes­tri­ans in the lot.

The com­pany's safety record and the ve­hi­cle's his­tory re­port have come un­der in­tense scru­tiny since the crash. The limo failed two in­spec­tions this year, in­clud­ing one in March that re­vealed the hy­draulic brakes were not work­ing prop­erly, of­fi­cials said.

Hus­sain's lawyer, Lee Kind­lon, told the Daily News the ar­rest had “jumped the gun.” He said the road was more of a fac­tor in the crash.

“It was a known prob­lem to the state of New York,” Kind­lon said. “Frankly, the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and the state of New York are do­ing a great job of say­ing, ‘Look over there, it's not our fault!' Is this day a dis­tracter for what the state of New York knew and when they knew it? ”

The driver's wife, Kim Lisinic­chia, told CBS that she over­heard her hus­band, Scott, say, "I'm not go­ing to drive this ... You need to get me an­other car."

Hus­sain pleaded not guilty at his ar­raign­ment Wed­nes­day night in Cobleskill Town Court and was re­leased on $150,000 bail. Schoharie DA Su­san Mallery wanted him to sur­ren­der his pass­ports. “Our con­cern is that he was leav­ing the ju­ris­dic­tion to­day with packed be­long­ings.”

Nau­man Hus­sain, 28, who was run­ning the limo com­pany owned by his fa­ther, was ar­rested and charged Wed­nes­day in hor­rific wreck that killed 20 peo­ple near Al­bany over the week­end.

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