Upstate NY limo company owner spared jail in crash that killed 20

A limousine company owner has been spared prison despite pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in a 2018 crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York in what was the worst transportation disaster in the U.S.in a decade.

Nauman Hussain, 31, will be free thanks to a deal made in exchange for his guilty plea even though the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the crash was likely caused by his company’s ‘egregious disregard for safety’ that resulted in brake failure. 

Eat at Doe Doe’s

The crash, which was also blamed on lack of state oversight by the NTSB, led to former New York Gov.signing limousine safety bills requiring more seatbelts in limousines and further licensing for drivers. 

Nauman Hussain, 31, will be free thanks to a deal made in exchange for his guilty plea

Nauman Hussain, 31, will be free thanks to a deal made in exchange for his guilty plea

Hussain faces five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. 

His case had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and prosecutors wanted to avoid the emotional toll the trial would have on the families. 

The hearing was held in a high school gymnasium to provide for social distancing among the many relatives, friends and media members attending.

Prosecutors and Hussain’s lawyers also said the plea agreement assured a resolution in a case that would have faced an uncertain outcome if presented to a jury.  

Seventeen family members and friends were killed, along with the driver and two bystanders in the crash

Seventeen family members and friends were killed, along with the driver and two bystanders in the crash

The case dates back to October 2018, when Axel Steenburg rented a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine for the 30th birthday of his new wife, Amy, from Prestige.

The party group, ranging in age from 24 to 34, included Axel’s brother, Amy’s three sisters and two of their husbands, and close friends.

En route to a brewery just south of Cooperstown, the limo’s brakes failed on a downhill stretch of state Route 30 in Schoharie, west of Albany. 

The case dates back to October 2018, when a man rented a 2004 Ford Excursion limousine [a similar model pictured above] for the 30th birthday of his new wife from Hussain's company

The case dates back to October 2018, when a man rented a 2004 Ford Excursion limousine [a similar model pictured above] for the 30th birthday of his new wife from Hussain’s company

The vehicle blew through a stop sign at a T-intersection at over 100 mph (160 kph) and crashed into a small ravine near a popular country store.

Seventeen family members and friends were killed, along with the driver and two bystanders outside the store in what was the deadliest U.S.transportation disaster in a decade.

Steenburg and wife Amy had just tied the knot in June.

The limousine that crashed Saturday was headed to a brewery in Cooperstown, New York, to celebrate Amy Steenburg's 30th birthday. Amy was killed alongside her new husband Axel 

The limousine that crashed Saturday was headed to a brewery in Cooperstown, New York, to celebrate Amy Steenburg’s 30th birthday.Amy was killed alongside her new husband Axel 

Amy was a nurse for the state Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

Her three sisters — Allison, Mary, and Abby — were also killed, as were two of their husbands and Axel’s brother Rich.

Just days before the crash, Amy had uploaded a post gushing about Axel to Facebook which read: ‘I love you more than words can say.’

‘You are such an amazing man and entertain all my crazy ideas.Even when I move a couch just to move it back to the original place.’  

Amy's three sisters - Allison, Mary, and Abby - were also killed. Pictured: Allison King (center) Abby Jackson (front left), Amy (front right) and Mary Dyson (back row, right)

Amy’s three sisters — Allison, Mary, and Abby — were also killed.Pictured: Allison King (center) Abby Jackson (front left), Amy (front right) and Mary Dyson (back row, right)

Amy’s sister Abigail and her husband Adam Jackson were parents to Archer, four, and one-year-old El

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    According to the plea agreement, Hussain had the 2001 vehicle serviced at a Mavis Discount Tire store multiple times in the two years before the crash, including twice for brake repairs. 

    The same shop also inspected the limousine, rather than the state Department of Transportation as required, the document said.

    A telephone message left with Mavis Discount Tires’ corporate headquarters in Millwood, New York, was not immediately returned.

    Hussain, seen here being arraigned in 2018, did not speak after learning he would not serve jail time

    Hussain, seen here being arraigned in 2018, did not speak after learning he would not serve jail time

    Prestige repeatedly changed the listed number of seats and took other steps to skirt safety regulations, according to documents released by the NTSB.

    The safety board said last fall that the state Department of Transportation knew of Prestige’s out-of-service violations and lack of operating authority and that the state Department of Motor Vehicles failed to properly register the limousine, allowing Prestige to circumvent safety regulations and inspection requirements.  

    A civil case led by attorney Cynthia LaFace is still ongoing.  

    Attorney Cynthia LaFave is representing victims in a civil trial against Hussain

    Attorney Cynthia LaFave is representing victims in a civil trial against Hussain

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