New York State Police took Nauman Hussain — whose father, Shahed Hussain, owns Prestige Limousine — into custody earlier in the day following a traffic stop on an interstate. Nauman Hussain was the operator of the company while his father is out of the country, police said.
Nauman Hussain, 28, had met with investigators on Monday for several hours, his attorney, Lee Kindlon, told the Times Union.
Police said that Hussain had been issued written violations by state police and the Department of Transportation (DoT) that the driver he hired should not have been operating the type of vehicle that was involved in the crash.
Hussain knew about the violations and was also aware that the limo was placed out of service by the DoT in September and should not have been on the road, New York State Police Superintendent, George P. Beach II said Wednesday.
"The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road rests with Nauman Hussain," Beach said.
Beach said that Hussain has been charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide, but added that there was "always a possibility" of additional charges as the investigation continued. Hussain is set to be arraigned on Wednesday evening.
Kindlon told BuzzFeed News that his client was "not guilty" and said police jumped the gun in charging him with a crime.
Kindlon said that Hussain "had very little involvement" in the company and that his father, Shahed Hussain, controlled Prestige Limousine and was in charge of day-to-day operations and maintenance.
Beach said Shahed Hussain remains out of the country and that he had no legal authority to bring him back to the US. He added that other family members' potential involvement in the crash was a part of the criminal investigation.
Authorities are investigating the crash that took place when the limousine —traveling southwest on Route 30 in Schoharie, west of Albany, on Saturday afternoon — failed to stop at an intersection with State Route 30A.
The vehicle sped across the intersection and into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store, where it smashed into an unoccupied vehicle and two pedestrians.
Both pedestrians and all 18 occupants of the car — which included a close-knit group of family and friends on their way to a birthday celebration — were killed.
The 2001 Ford Excursion that was converted to a limo had failed a New York State DMV inspection last month and was not supposed to be on the road, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Cuomo said that Prestige Limousine will be sent a cease-and-desist order to stop operations until an investigation into the crash is complete.
Limo driver Scott Lisinicchia, who also died in the crash, did not have the required license to operate the vehicle, Cuomo said.
Shahed Hussain had worked with the FBI as an informant in at least two counterterrorism investigations.