The owner of a New York limousine company whose car crashed when its brakes failed, killing 20 people, will go on trial in May after a judge canceled his earlier plea deal.
Noman Hussain runs the unlicensed limousine company out of a hotel his family owns in the town of Wilton, 40 miles north of Albany.
On October 6, 2018, a group of friends celebrating their 30th birthday rented a limousine — one of whom texted her sister shortly before getting in the car saying the car was “in terrible shape.”
The brakes failed at 60 mph, around 2 p.m., and the limousine ran over an intersection near Shahari, crashing into a ditch next to the Apple Barrel Country Store.
The driver, 17 passengers and two pedestrians were killed in the parking lot. Among them were four sisters and their husbands.
Nouman Hussain is pictured in court in Skuhari County, New York. He will stand trial on May 1 for criminal negligence on the October 20, 2018 limousine crash.
The brakes on Hussein’s white limousine fail, causing it to crash through an intersection at 60 mph and crash into a ditch.
The driver, 17 passengers and two pedestrians were killed
Hussein accepted a plea bargain in September 2021, agreeing to five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service — an agreement that relatives of the victims found infuriatingly lenient.
In August 2022, State Supreme Court Justice Peter Lynch canceled the plea deal, forcing Hussain to stand trial.
Hussein was seen being arrested in October 2018
The trial will begin May 1 — despite a plea by Lee Kindlon, Hussein’s attorney, to delay the start of the trial by a week because his co-counsel, Joe Tacopina, is working to defend Donald Trump in the Stormy Daniels Hush Money Case. The judge denied the request.
On Monday, it was agreed by Chaharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery, Hussain’s attorneys, and Lynch that the trial would need a pool of 1,500 potential jurors — a figure that’s five percent of Chaharie County’s population, and shows just how difficult it can be. is to find jurors in rural areas who were not affected in some way by the crash.
“I think finding a jury is going to be difficult,” Kindlon, Hussein’s attorney, told Lynch.
Lawyers expect to cross-examine 90 potential jurors a day as they try to put together a 12-member panel to decide whether Hussain is responsible for the country’s deadliest transportation disaster in more than a decade.
Mallery told the judge on Monday that she would need to use up to 500 subpoenas to build the case, Times Union mentioned.
Two women broke into tears when they were laying flowers at the scene of the horrific accident
The limousine came down this hill, missed the stop sign, sped through the intersection, hit a parked vehicle and then fell into the ditch, which is across from the bush seen opposite.
New York State Police said a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine failed to stop at the intersection of State Route 30 and State Route 30A around 1.55pm in Schoharie, near Albany.
A New York State Trooper and members of the National Transportation Safety Board watch the scene of the fatal crash in Skuhari
Mud tracks show where the limousine broke loose after hitting a Toyota, tumbling into a ravine
The limousine crash was the worst traffic accident in the United States in over a decade
Mallery submitted a 900-page personal file on Hussain, outlining Hussain’s past “bad deeds”, and asking the judge to allow her to use it at trial.
Lynch will make a decision in the coming weeks.
The newspaper reported that Hussain had more than 60 encounters with law enforcement, including parking tickets in 2014 when Hussain and his brother Haris were accused of impersonating each other during a traffic stop.
Kindlon and his team are appealing Lynch’s original decision to overturn the plea bargain.
The case is being held by Hussain’s father, Shahid Hussain, a longtime FBI counter-terrorism informant with what the Times Union described as a ‘casual job and criminal past’.
Questions have been raised about whether the FBI’s Albany office encouraged law enforcement to turn a blind eye to the limousine business, in protest of its provenance.
Before the accident, Shahid Hussain returned home to Pakistan and has not been seen since.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation have come under fire for allowing the limousine to remain on the road.