Li­mou­sine ser­vice op­er­a­tor charged in deadly N.Y. crash

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

A li­mou­sine ser­vice op­er­a­tor was charged Wed­nes­day with crim­i­nally neg­li­gent homi­cide in a crash that killed 20 peo­ple, while po­lice con­tin­ued in­ves­ti­gat­ing what caused the wreck and whether any­one else will face charges.

The op­er­a­tor’s lawyer said that the man wasn’t guilty and that po­lice were rush­ing to judg­ment.

The com­pany, Pres­tige Li­mou­sine, has come un­der in­tense scru­tiny since Satur­day’s crash out­side Al­bany killed two pedes­tri­ans and 18 peo­ple in a su­per-stretch limo.

Pres­tige Li­mou­sine op­er­a­tor Nau­man Hus­sain hired a driver who shouldn’t have been be­hind the wheel of such a car, and the ve­hi­cle shouldn’t have been driven af­ter state in­spec­tors deemed it “un­ser­vice­able” last month, State Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Ge­orge Beach said at a news con­fer­ence.

“The sole re­spon­si­bil­ity for that mo­tor ve­hi­cle be­ing on the road on Satur­day rests with Nau­man Hus­sain,” Beach said, though he noted that in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­tinue look­ing into whether any­one else should be held ac­count­able.

As Hus­sain, 28, awaited ar­raign­ment, his lawyer, Lee Kind­lon, said his client han­dled only mar­ket­ing du­ties and phone calls, while his fa­ther ran the com­pany, though po­lice called Hus­sain its op­er­a­tor.

“My client is not guilty,” Kind­lon said. “The po­lice jumped the gun in charg­ing him with any crime.” Un­der New York law, crim­i­nally neg­li­gent homi­cide in­volves not per­ceiv­ing a sub­stan­tial, un­jus­ti­fi­able risk that leads to some­one’s death. It’s pun­ish­able by up to four years in prison.

Po­lice charged Hus­sain with a sin­gle count in­volv­ing all 20 vic­tims. He was ar­rested Wed­nes­day in a traf­fic stop on a high­way near Al­bany.

NEW YORK STATE PO­LICE VIA AP

Nau­man Hus­sain

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