Judge refuses to dismiss charges in fatal Schoharie limo crash

Prosecutors have “presented legally sufficient evidence of causation and foreseeability” for a limousine company operator to face trial for 20 deaths resulting from a crash in October 2018, a judge has ruled.

Nauman Hussain, 28, manager of Prestige Limousine of Saratoga Springs, has pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide for the crash that killed 17 passengers, two pedestrians in a parking lot and the driver of the limousine.

Multiple brake defects at all four wheels, resulting in “catastrophic failure,” have been blamed for the crash of the stretched 2001 Ford Excursion limousine after the vehicle had twice been ordered out of service. Prosecutors have alleged that Hussain removed an out-of-service sticker placed by state inspectors before sending the vehicle out to carry a birthday party to a brewery.

Hussain’s attorneys asked the judge to dismiss all charges because the prosecution “could not possibly have submitted legally sufficient evidence to support the elements of legal causation and foreseeability.” Hussain, they argued, could not have known that his actions would result in the fatal crash.

Schoharie County Judge George R. Bartlett III disagreed. “The Court finds it legally sufficient to sustain the charges set forth in the indictment,” he wrote in an opinion issued on Oct. 29. “This being the case, determination of these issues is for the trier of fact.”

Hussain’s trial is scheduled to begin in January.


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