“That’s as much resolution as we’re going to get from anyone on that.”
That’s how Schoharie Supervisor Alan Tavenner characterized the National Transportation Safety Board’s 103-page final report on the October 6, 2018 limousine accident there.
The crash killed 20 people; a memorial next to the Apple Barrel on Route 30A remembers them all.
Mr. Tavenner shared some of the report with councilmen Wednesday, pointing to the NTSB’s findings that the limo should never have been registered and should have failed a state inspection.
The NTSB criticized both the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation.
“…DMV’s failure to verify information in its vehicle registration program allowed the crash limousine to be incorrectly classified and improperly registered, which enabled [owner] Prestige Limousine to be incorrectly classified and improperly registered [circumventing] the more thorough…inspection requirements that might have prevented the crash,” the NTSB writes.
The report also blasts DOT for “oversight failures” in dealing with Prestige Limousine,” citing “statistical evidence of its limited enforcement effectiveness of motor carriers in general.”
Both DMV and DOT placed the blame squarely at the feet of Prestige, which “demonstrated egregious disregard for public safety by willingly, knowingly, and recklessly evading state oversight…NTSB’s own report…reaffirms that Prestigue repeatedly violated New York State law and was never authorized at any time to operate for-hire commercial passenger vehicle service in the state. We exercised our full authority under the law.”
The limousine company operator, Nauman Hussain, is facing criminal charges, 20 counts of manslaughter, and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide.
He had been slated to go to trial in Schoharie County last January, but the proceeding has since been delayed by COVID.
The NTSB said the limo, headed to Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, reached a speed greater than 100mph coming down Route 30 after its brakes failed on the steep hill, racing across Route 30 and crashing into a ravine behind the Apple Barrel.
All 17 passengers and the driver, along with two shoppers in the parking lot, were killed.
The NTSB report urges the National Limousine Association to inform its members to take steps to ensure altered vehicles pass structural and mechanical safety inspections and meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.