Limo operator in deadly New York crash charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide

SCHOHARIE, New York (WABC) -- A limousine service operator whose company was involved in a deadly crash in upstate New York was charged Friday with 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide.

Authorities say Nauman Hussain, who ran Prestige Limousine for his father, hired a driver who shouldn't have been behind the wheel of such a car, and that the vehicle shouldn't have been driven after state inspectors deemed it "unserviceable" a month before the crash.

The company came under intense scrutiny after the 19-seater limo ran a stop sign and plowed into a parked SUV at the bottom of a long hill in Schoharie.

The impact killed two pedestrians and 18 people in the limo, which was taking a group to a birthday bash.

The collision happened about 25 miles west of Albany, which is a popular spot with tourists taking in the fall foliage. Witnesses reporting bodies on the ground and broken tree limbs everywhere.

Among the victims were newlyweds, young parents, four sisters and their friends.

RELATED: Remembering those killed in the Schoharie crash

Reports show that the limousine had failed a safety inspection in part because of a brake malfunction, ABC News reports.
Inspection records reviewed by ABC News show that the vehicle received a violation for "ABS malfunction indicators for hydraulic brake system."

The inspection record shows six violations from the limousine's September 4 inspection, including a violation for "failure to correct defects noted on the previous inspection report."

Prestige Limousine, which owned the vehicle, had 22 violations in the past two years, and not only did the limo fail a safety inspection, but authorities say the driver wasn't properly licensed.

Hussain's attorney told ABC News his office has not yet received a copy of the indictment but released the following statement:

"We have only seen reports in the press, but I can say that this is a flawed indictment fundamentally at odds with itself. Mr. Hussain is not guilty of criminal wrongdoing and we will fight for him every step of the way."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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