Limo company employee found guilty of manslaughter in an upstate New York crash that killed 20 people


A limousine company worker who authorities say hired the driver involved in a 2018 limo wreck that killed 20 people in upstate New York was found guilty Wednesday of 20 counts of manslaughter.

Nauman Hussain, who is the son of the limo company’s owner, was convicted in a jury trial of manslaughter in the second degree for each person who died – the driver, all 17 passengers and two pedestrians – in the crash in Schoharie, New York.

Police previously described Hussain as an “operator” for the company, Prestige Limousine Chauffeur Service.

The limo, a 2001 Ford Excursion that was converted into a limousine, was carrying 17 birthday party guests when it went past a stop sign, and crashed into a parked vehicle – an SUV that then struck the two pedestrians – on October 6, 2018, authorities said. The modified limo ended up in a ravine, officials said. It was the deadliest US transportation accident in almost a decade.

Hussain had hired the limo driver, Scott Lisinicchia, despite knowing that Lisinicchia didn’t have the appropriate license to be driving the limo, according to a felony complaint.

The complaint also said Hussain knew or should have known the modified Ford had mechanical and safety deficiencies, including some that would have affected the brakes.

The limo had failed inspection just a month before the crash and “was not supposed to be on the road,” New York ‘s then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo said two days after the wreck.

The limousine was going over 100 mph before it crashed, a 2020 report from the National Transportation Safety Board found.

The brakes hadn’t been adequately maintained, and although the driver had likely applied the brakes prior to the crash, the “brake system failed to effectively slow the limousine,” the NTSB’s report said.

The report concluded that the probable cause of the crash was “Prestige Limousine and Chauffeur Service’s egregious disregard for safety, in dispatching a stretch limousine with an out-of-service order for a passenger charter trip, resulting in the failure of its brake system.”

During the trial, the defense argued that Hussain had paid a company to fix issues in the vehicle, but that the company didn’t complete the work, according to CNN affiliate Spectrum News Albany.

Hussain intends to appeal the verdict, his attorney said.

“I am heartbroken for my client and his family, but also for the families of the 20 lost souls,” attorney Lee Kindlon told CNN. “While we believe the verdict was in error and we are already planning the appeal, the Hussain family wants only the best for those affected.”

CNN has sought comment from the Schoharie County district attorney’s office.

Hussain is scheduled to be sentenced on May 31, according to Spectrum News Albany.

Among those who died in the crash were young parents, newlyweds, artists, athletes and four sisters from the same family. Many of the victims were from the upstate city of Amsterdam, about 20 miles north of the crash site.

Relatives of the victims embraced Wednesday in a Schoharie County courtroom after the verdict was read there, Spectrum News Albany reported.

“Today we waited for a long time. It’s been a long time coming,” Jill Richardson-Perez, mother of victim Matthew Coons, told the outlet. “It might’ve been a shorter trial than people thought, but for us sitting in that courtroom, it was a long trial. Those were long, long days.”

“I’m happy but sad, which is a difficult thing to express and explain,” said Mary Ashton, mother of victim Michael Ukaj, told Spectrum News Albany. “I’m happy for my son. He has finally gotten justice, and that’s exactly what I’ve been fighting for.”