Nauman Hussain (28), the son of the owner of Prestige Limousine Chauffeur Service which rented out the stretch involved in a fatal accident on Saturday that killed 20, has been arrested.
He was charged in the Schoharie Town court Wednesday with criminally negligent homicide but pleaded not guilty and was released on $150 000 bail.
The 20 victims were the driver of the limo and all 17 passengers, including four sisters, who were on their way to a birthday party. Two bystanders were also killed when the limo drove through a stop sign and crashed into unoccupied vehicle, parked near a country store opposite the intersection, before coming to rest in a wooded, shallow ravine
The accident happened at Schoharie in New York State. The state’s police superintendent George Beach told reporters after the arrest: “The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road Saturday rests with Nauman Hussein.”
Officials said the vehicle should not have been on the road having failed inspections in March and September and that the driver Scott Lisinicchia was not licensed to drive that type of vehicle.
Hussain’s lawyer said investigators were “jumping the gun” in arresting and charging his client. “Even the most simple investigations , done well, take months.”
He said Nauman handled some marketing and bookings and took some phone calls but had “very little involvement” in the company.
The 28-year-old’s father Shahed, who is responsible for the day to day running of the company, was in Pakistan at the time of the accident and is still there.
The investigations are continuing and police have declined to say whether any further arrests are possible.