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Attorneys react to NTSB report on Schoharie crash

Emily Burkhard
Created: September 29, 2020 11:23 PM

NewsChannel 13 spoke with attorneys representing Nauman Hussain and families of the victims after the National Transportation Safety Board released their report on the Schoharie limo crash on Tuesday.

Attorneys involved in the civil case said victim’s families were initially saddened, but then became very angry after hearing about the numerous opportunities state agencies had to get this vehicle taken off the road.

"If every or even somebody along the way had done their job is never would've happened,” attorney Cynthia LaFave said.

LaFave is one of the attorneys representing the families of victims.

She said the report clearly shows the New York State Department of Transportation and Department Motor Vehicles repeatedly failed to take the 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo off the road before the October 2018 crash.

“What they're going to do is say, 'Yeah but after it happened we did something,” attorney David Iverson said. “After it happened and we passed all these things, after it happened we've been better, but the whole report is about the accident and before and before they did nothing."

Spokespeople for DOT and DMV released this joint statement in response:

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“The findings clearly demonstrate the shocking extremes to which the owners of Prestige went to break the law and falsify State and federal compliance records. We exercised the full authority granted to us under the law and ordered that vehicle off the road multiple times, but as NTSB’s own reports on this crash reaffirm, Prestige repeatedly violated New York State law and was never authorized at any time to operate for-hire commercial passenger vehicle service in the State.‎ New York has since enacted the nation’s most aggressive laws governing commercial vehicle safety.  These new laws provide for increased passenger protections, heightened civil and criminal penalties, and strengthened enforcement provisions.”

Defense attorney Lee Kindlon said none of the information released Tuesday is new to him, but it does provide more perspective for those following the case.

"Look they were tough on everybody not just Mr. Hussain and Prestige Limo but the state, the district attorney’s office and they were fairly scathing in how they spread load the blame,” he said.

Kindlon said the report doesn't change how he plans to defend Hussain.

He also said there likely won't be any decisions about the case going to trial or if Hussain will take a plea agreement until pandemic restrictions are eased or lifted.

"Until we get that day we are as we say at an operational pause,” Kindon said. “We are just waiting for the go ahead to get into a courtroom, put a couple things on the record and then make some big decisions about what to do next with the case."

The NTSB report also focused on Mavis Discount Tire. NewsChannel 13 reached out to corporate communications officials for comment, but they chose not to issue a statement.


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