April 6 (UPI) — A grand jury indicted the operator of the limousine company involved in the October crash in New York that killed 20 people.
Nauman Hussain, operator of Prestige Limo, which rented the limousine involved in the wreck about six months ago in upstate New York, was indicted Friday on 20 felony counts of second-degree manslaughter and 20 felony counts of criminally negligent homicide, Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery said.
Prosecutors had a six-month deadline to indict Hussain after his Oct. 10 arrest.
“We have worked extremely hard for the last six months,” Mallery said at a news conference. “At this point, the only thing I will say is that we handed up the indictment. I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss the case.”
Hussain was initially charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide.
The stretch limo ran through a stop sign on Oct. 6 at an intersection in Schoharie, N.Y., near Albany, and crashed into a parked SUV near a country store, killing all 18 occupants, including family and friends headed to a birthday celebration in Cooperstown and the driver, as well as two pedestrians.
The vehicle previously failed a mandatory annual state inspection and the driver did not have the appropriate commercial driver’s license, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said. The state Department of Transportation had ordered the vehicle off the road before the crash.
The crash is the deadliest vehicle incident in the United States since a 2009 plane crash near Buffalo killed 50 people.
Prosecutors argued that Hussain knew the limo was unsafe and that the driver did not have the proper license for a passenger vehicle of its size.
Hussain is free on bail and scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday.
His lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said Hussain faces flawed charges
“This is a flawed indictment fundamentally at odds with itself,” Kindlon said in a statement. “Mr. Hussain is not guilty of criminal wrongdoing and we will fight for him every step of the way.”