Nauman Hussain leaves Cobleskill Town Court after pleading not guilty to a single count of criminally negligent homicide on Oct. 10, 2018.
Jon Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBANY, N.Y. – The operator of a limousine company was indicted Friday on a bevy of charges related to the crash last year that left 20 people dead in upstate New York.
Nauman Hussain, who ran the Wilton-based Prestige Limousine company that rented out the stretch limo involved in the October wreck in Schoharie County, about 30 miles west of Albany, was indicted by a grand jury on 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide, according to Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery.
The indictment, which was handed up in Schoharie County Court, came nearly six months after Hussain was first charged by police.
At the time, Hussain, who was 28 at the time of his arrest, was only charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide.
But Mallery presented the grand jury with separate counts for each of the victims in the crash, which included the driver, 17 passengers and two bystanders.
The grand jury also indicted Hussain on separate manslaughter charges for each victim.
“I cannot discuss the process,” Mallery told reporters, according to a video posted by Spectrum News. “We have worked with the New York State Police … and we have worked extremely hard for the last six months.
Hussain’s attorney suggested Friday he will plead not guilty when he is arraigned next week.
“This is a flawed indictment fundamentally at odds with itself,” attorney Lee Kindlon said in a statement. “Mr. Hussain is not guilty of criminal wrongdoing and we will fight for him every step of the way.”
The split charges were notable because they stand to lengthen Hussain’s potential sentence should he be convicted.
Under the previous, single charge, Hussain had faced up to four years in prison. Under the new charges, he could face consecutive sentences for each count he’s convicted under.
Prestige Limousine is owned by Hussain’s father, Shahed, who was in Pakistan at the time of the crash.
The company rented out the 2001 Ford Excursion limo to a group of friends who were planning on celebrating a birthday at a brewery in Cooperstown.
The limo, which had twice failed inspection, blew through a stop sign at the bottom of a hill, crashing into a parked SUV near the Apple Barrel Country Store, a popular seasonal shop in the rural town of Schoharie.
It was the deadliest motor-vehicle wreck in the United States since 2009.
Hussain pleaded not guilty to the original criminal charge. He’s expected to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday.
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