The operator of the limousine company involved in the 2018 deadly Schoharie crash that killed 20 people will not serve prison time under the terms of a plea agreement.
Nauman Hussain pleaded guilty on Thursday to 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide. The hearing was moved to Schoharie Central School to accommodate the large crowd.
He will be sentenced to 5 years of probation and have to perform 1,000 hours of community service, according to documents of the plea agreement obtained by WNYT NewsChannel 13, The Post-Star‘s media partner.
Sentencing will take place at a later date.
Hussain operated Prestige Limo. The illegally modified stretch limousine was carrying 17 young adults on their way to a birthday party on Oct. 6, 2018, when the brakes failed.
The 2001 Ford Excursion blew through a stop sign at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A at 100 mph. It crashed into an SUV in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store before coming to rest in a ravine.
The driver, 53-year-old Scott Lisinicchia, of Queensbury, the 17 passengers and two pedestrians in the parking lot were killed.
Officials have said Lisinicchia was not properly licensed to drive the vehicle.
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State police said the cause of the crash was catastrophic brake failure.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Hussain had sought to evade state safety measures and knowingly kept an unsafe vehicle on the road.
A Times Union investigation found that Prestige Limo evaded state regulations by getting the vehicle inspected at stations licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. It was supposed to be inspected by the Department of Transportation — like school buses are inspected.
The limousine in question was inspected in May 2018 by Mavis Discount Tire Shop in Saratoga Springs and by Wilton Truck Center in July 2016.
The NTSB report said none of the passengers were wearing seat belts at the time because they were not accessible. Officials believe that some of the passengers may have survived had they been wearing seat belts.
The crash prompted changes including a new state law requiring passengers have access to seat belts in stretch limousines.
One of the victims was Amanda Halse, of Fort Ann, who was a 2010 graduate of Fort Ann Central School.
Halse was an artist who had careers working in a bakery and as a landscaper. She was working as a waitress, while developing a garden and creating art in her free time, according to a Post-Star article.