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Limo operator avoids prison time for 2018 New York crash that killed twenty

The operator of a limousine company was spared prison time Thursday in a 2018 crash that killed 20 people when a brake failure sent a stretch limo full of birthday partiers hurtling down a hill in upstate New York.

Nauman Hussain, 31, who operated Prestige Limousine, had originally been charged with 20 counts each of criminally negligent homicide and second-degree manslaughter in what was the deadliest U.S. transportation disaster in a decade. But under an agreement for Hussain to plead guilty only to the homicide counts and spare families the uncertainties and emotional toll of a trial, he faces five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. Under the deal, Hussain will be formally sentenced after an interim probation of two years.

On October 6, 2018, Axel Steenburg of Amsterdam, 30 miles west of Albany, rented the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine for the 30th birthday of his new wife, Amy. 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 Brewery Ommegang, south of Cooperstown, the limo’s brakes failed on a downhill stretch of state Route 30 in Schoharie, west of Albany. The vehicle blew through a stop sign at a T-intersection at over 100 mph 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.

Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery’s office has said Hussain allowed passengers to ride in the limo despite having received “multiple notices of violations” from the state and having been told repairs were inadequate. State police said the vehicle should have been taken out of service because of brake problems identified in an inspection a month before the crash [CBS News].

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES UNION

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