NY limo owner’s son taken into cus­tody

State po­lice say driver wasn’t prop­erly li­censed

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Joseph Spec­tor and Jon Camp­bell

AL­BANY, N.Y. – The son of the owner of li­mou­sine com­pany in the crash that killed 20 peo­ple on Satur­day was ar­rested Wed­nes­day by state po­lice and charged with crim­i­nally neg­li­gent homi­cide. Nau­man Hus­sain was taken into cus­tody ear­lier Wed­nes­day morn­ing and charged with the class C felony, state po­lice said. The op­er­a­tor of Pres­tige Limo was stopped on In­ter­state 787 near Al­bany. Hus­sain ran the Saratoga County li­mou­sine com­pany owned by his fa­ther, Sha­hed Hus­sain, who was in Pak­istan at the time of the crash. “My client is not guilty. Po­lice jumped the gun in bring­ing charges,” Lee Kind­lon, Hus­sain’s at­tor­ney, told re­porters. State po­lice said Mon­day that the crash, the na­tion’s worst in nine years, was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a crim­i­nal case as ques­tions about the con­di­tion of the 2001 Ford Ex­cur­sion li­mou­sine have drawn heavy scru­tiny. State po­lice con­firmed Wed­nes­day that the li­mou­sine’s driver, Scott Lisinic­chia, had been stopped by a state trooper in Saratoga Springs in late Au­gust af­ter he had driven 11 peo­ple in the same ve­hi­cle and cited for op­er­at­ing it with­out a proper li­cense. State po­lice said the trooper ad­vised both the driver and the com­pany that Lisinic­chia could not op­er­ate the ve­hi­cle with­out ad­di­tional li­cen­sure. “The trooper also took steps to en­sure that the ve­hi­cle was taken off the road, re­turned to its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion and di­rected the driver not to drive the ve­hi­cle,” state po­lice said. But po­lice said the trooper did not have the le­gal author­ity to seize the plates or the ve­hi­cle dur­ing that stop. The li­mou­sine failed two state in­spec­tions, in March and again in Septem­ber, the state De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion said. Af­ter the failed in­spec­tion Sept. 4, the state af­fixed a sticker tak­ing the ve­hi­cle out of ser­vice, the DOT said. But Lisinic­chia was still driv­ing when the crash oc­curred on a ru­ral road in Schoharie that killed him, 17 pas­sen­gers and two by­standers at a coun­try store at the scene. Sha­hed Hus­sain, the com­pany’s owner, was once an un­der­cover in­for­mant for the FBI. New York state’s crim­i­nal pro­ce­dure law says a charge of crim­i­nally neg­li­gent homi­cide ac­cuses a per­son of en­gag­ing in “blame­wor­thy con­duct so se­ri­ous that it cre­ates or con­trib­utes to a sub­stan­tial and un­jus­ti­fi­able risk that an­other per­son’s death will oc­cur.”

RICKY FLORES/USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

The crash oc­curred Satur­day at Route 30 and Route 30A in Schoharie, N.Y. It was the worst in the United States in nine years.

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