Documents: Limo company operator aware of complaints

Shown is the memorial honoring the 20 people who were killed in the Schoharie limousine crash. The crash occurred on Oct. 6 on Routes 30 and 30A. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

SCHOHARIE — The operator of a limousine company who is being held responsible for the crash that killed 20 people, was aware of passenger complaints regarding the condition of the limousine, and at times refunded fares to customers, according to documents filed with the Schoharie County Court.

Nauman Hussain, who was charged with 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide and second-degree manslaughter in the Oct. 6 limousine crash in Schoharie was told by third parties prior to the crash that repairs made to the 2001 Ford Excursion were temporary and inadequate, and required further repairs.

The document which was filed in response to the defense team’s request for a “bill of particulars” about the state’s case against Hussain, also states that individuals over a period of time, refused to drive the limousine because of its poor condition.

State police have said the limousine should have been taken out of service based on brake issues identified in a September inspection.

According to the document, Hussain repeatedly failed to properly maintain the vehicle and received multiple notices of violations from the state Department of Transportation and state police, but continued to have passengers be transported in the limousine. He also attempted to sell the limousine before the crash.

The limousine ran a stop sign at the intersection of Routes 30 and 30A on Oct. 6, and went straight into the parking lot of Appel Barrel Country Store, then striking a parked car before crashing into a small ravine beside the country store. The crash killed the 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians. The 17 passengers were heading to Cooperstown for a birthday celebration.

The document also accuses Hussain of being reckless when hiring the driver of the limousine, Scott T. Lisinicchia, who did not have the authority to drive a 16 passenger limousine, and had not been drug tested and had been placed out of service by state police and state DOT. Lisinicchia was also not listed under the limousine’s insurance policy.

Attorney Lee Kindlon said Wednesday that the defense team won’t comment on individual pieces of evidence before trial, set for September. Hussain has pleaded not guilty and remains free on $450,000 bond.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.