Tension builds between NTSB, Schoharie County DA over limo crash investigation
January 16, 2019 09:42 AM
Tension continues to build between the National Transportation Safety Board and the Schoharie County district attorney.
In a letter sent Monday from the NTSB to Schoharie County Court Judge George Bartlett, the NTSB is pleading for the court to step in and include the agency in a search warrant to gain access to the SUV limousine involved in Schoharie crash that left 20 people dead.
The NTSB has been trying for months to inspect the limo involved in last October’s crash, but standing in their way is the district attorney and New York State Police, who are conducting their own investigations.
In the letter to Bartlett, the NTSB said this is a highly unusual situation and federal investigators are routinely granted access to evidence from an accident.
The letter goes on to say District Attorney Susan Mallery, defense attorney Lee Kindlon who represents Prestige Limo operator Nauman Hussain, and the NTSB had a conference call last Friday, Jan. 11. The NTSB labeled the call as “disappointingly unproductive.”
The agency wants to inspect the limo in its current condition before it is moved or altered. In the letter, the NTSB said Mallery asked when the agency is available to inspect it. The NSTB replied with "as early as today," but they claim Mallery told the agency that would not be possible.
The NTSB said in the letter at one point Mallery hung up on them during the conference call.
Ina letter Bartlett sent to the NTSB, he stated defense counsel and the district attorney have until Wednesday to submit any opposition.
NewsChannel 13 was able to obtain a letter Kindlon sent to the court. It said, "After a conference call held between all parties, the defense would like its position noted with regard to the status of the vehicle at the center of the investigation. After consultation with our experts, the defense is done with the exterior inspection of the vehicle and would consent to the vehicle being moved into a more permanent structure, as discussed by all parties. We would request that our experts be present for any future examinations by either the NTSB or the People’s investigators, and specifically for the removal of the vehicle’s transmission and torque converter."
The NTSB ended its letter to Bartlett by stating theState Police and district attorney should grant the NTSB immediate access for the work identified in its inspection protocol.
NewsChannel 13 did reach out to Mallery about the letter and to ask if she plans to submit an opposition letter to Bartlett, but did not hear back.
To review the full documents, click here.
Updated: January 16, 2019 09:42 AM
Created: January 15, 2019 11:28 PM
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