Limo company operator in deadly Schoharie crash pleads not guilty
April 10, 2019 10:23 PM
The business operator of Prestige Limo, the company involved in that deadly Schoharie crash six months ago, pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against him late Wednesday afternoon. This was his first time 29-year-old Nauman Hussain appeared in front of a judge since a grand jury handed up 39 new criminal charges against him on Friday.
Update from the courtroom: Hussain has entered not guilty plea. After a lot of arguing from DA and defense the Judge has set bail at $225,000 cash or $450,000 bond. Cannot have passport, gps monitor and check in with court once a week. @WNYT— Emily De Vito (@emilydevito) April 10, 2019
At the court hearing -- New York State Police, Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery -- and the defendant, who arrived with his legal team of Lee Kindlon and Joe Tacopina out of NYC. Family members of the 20 victims were also inside the courtroom.
After meeting for several weeks last month and this month, a grand jury Friday handed up 20 counts each of manslaughter in the second, for each of the men and women killed in the crash on October 6, as well 19 additional counts of criminally negligent homicide, for a total of 20 -- again for each of the victims in the case.
The 17 passengers inside that modified 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo, the driver and two pedestrians were killed in the parking lot of the restaurant where it happened.
A preliminary NTSB report says the vehicle failed to stop, as required and was seen speeding through an intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A. All along, the defense has maintained this was nothing more than a tragic accident, calling the indictment quote "fundamentally at odds with itself," adding that Hussain is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing and his defense team will fight for him every step of the way.
State officials on the other hand and the NTSB is investigating the vehicle's modifications and mechanical condition. State officials have said on the record the owners of Prestige knowingly and willfully operated the limo in question in violation of NYS law.
Meanwhile NewsChannel 13 stopped by the site on Wednesday, where there is a makeshift memorial still standing, funds are being raised for a permanent one, the goal in time for the one-year anniversary.
MORE INFORMATION: Nauman Hussain bail application
Updated: April 10, 2019 10:23 PM
Created: April 10, 2019 07:46 AM
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