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Former Limo Company Manager Sentenced to Prison for Deadly Schoharie Crash

SCHOHARIE, N.Y.—Nauman Hussain, a former manager of a limousine company, was handed a minimum of five years in prison on Wednesday for his involvement in a tragic crash that claimed the lives of 20 individuals in rural New York. The 33-year-old was found guilty of manslaughter earlier this month, as prosecutors successfully argued that he deliberately neglected to maintain a stretch limo, leading to a catastrophic failure of its brakes on a downhill road in Schoharie, a village located west of Albany.

The incident occurred on October 6, 2018, when a 2001 Ford Excursion, carrying a group of friends celebrating a birthday, collided with a parked car and trees before landing in a streambed. All 17 passengers, the limo driver, and two innocent bystanders lost their lives, marking one of the deadliest road accidents in the United States over the past two decades.

During the sentencing, Judge Peter Lynch announced an indeterminate term of 5 to 15 years in prison for Hussain, who appeared in court wearing an orange jail uniform and remained shackled. The determination of his release will be made by the state's parole board after he serves the minimum sentence.

In an emotionally charged courtroom, several people who had lost loved ones in the crash directly addressed Hussain before the sentence was announced. Tearfully addressing him, Bethany King, who lost four family members in the tragedy, expressed the lasting impact of that fateful day. "October 6, 2018, is the date forever burned into my heart and soul," she said. Looking down, King added, "You have received a justified guilty verdict, while the rest of us here have received a life sentence."

Throughout the trial, prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that the limo had been allowed to deteriorate, and Hussain's rental company had taken steps to keep it in operation despite a failed inspection that should have rendered it out of service. Special prosecutor Frederick Rench, speaking outside the Schoharie County Courthouse, stated that the sentence was expected. Rench highlighted that Hussain was legally obligated to adhere to specific regulations, which he knowingly disregarded, ultimately leading to the tragic crash. Rench emphasized, "He failed to abide by them, he failed to follow them, and this crash occurred as a result of that."

Previously, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators concluded that the rental company had also evaded inspection rules for oversized vehicles by providing false information regarding the SUV's seating capacity.

Kevin Cushing, who lost his son Patrick Cushing in the crash, expressed his frustration over the preventable nature of the tragedy. "It makes me and my family sick to know that a $2,000 brake repair would have avoided this catastrophe," he stated. Directing his words to Hussain, Cushing added, "Nauman, you're a sorry excuse for a human being."

The trial followed the rejection of a plea deal last fall, which would have spared Hussain from serving time in prison. Reflecting on the outcome, Cushing remarked that the judge had given families a voice and an opportunity, expressing his satisfaction with the verdict.

During the sentencing, Hussain remained silent, choosing not to address the court. However, his attorney, Lee Kindlon, announced plans to file an appeal on his behalf, suggesting that the legal battle may continue in the future.


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