The operator of the limousine service whose vehicle crashed, resulting in the deaths of 20 people was indicted Friday on 40 counts in connection with the tragedy.
Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery said Nauman Hussein, 28, of Cohoes faces 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide.
“One count each for each victim,” Ms. Mallery said.
The crash occurred Sunday, October 6, at the intersection of Routes 30 and 30A in Schoharie. The limo driver, two pedestrians outside the nearby Apple Barrel, and all 17 limo passengers were killed.
Mr. Hussein is the son of the owner of Prestige Limousine and was responsible for the limo being in service, according to State Police.
Arrested days after the accident, Mr. Hussein was originally charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide, Ms. Mallery said.
Evidence developed during the investigation led to additional charges.
Second-degree manslaughter charges that an individual “was aware of a risk and disregards that risk,” Ms. Mallery said.
That’s slightly different than second-degree manslaughter, which is “failure to perceive an unjustifiable risk” that results in the death of a person, she added.
“This gives jurors an alternative,” Ms. Mallery said of the two series of 20 counts each.
Mr. Hussein is to be arraigned today, Wednesday, at 4pm in Schoharie County Court.
After his initial arrest, Mr. Hussein was released on $150,000 bond, and Ms. Mallery said she may seek a higher bail at the arraignment, though she didn’t give a figure.
“At the minimum we’ll ask for an electronic monitoring device,” she said.
There were some reports that charges had to be filed within six months of the accident, but that’s not true because of the serious nature of the case.
“For the families, it’s important to keep this moving,” Ms. Mallery said, adding that the investigation is continuing.
Attempts to reach Lee Kindlon, Mr. Hussein’s attorney, were unsuccessful.
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Many in the limo were from the Amsterdam area and were on their way to Cooperstown for a celebration when the vehicle hurtled down Route 30, crossed 30A, and slammed into an embankment.
State Police said the 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo shouldn’t have been on the road, and, according to State Police Superintendent George Beach, the “sole responsibility for that vehicle being on the road was Nauman Hussein’s.”