A limousine service operator was charged today with criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed 20 people, while police continued investigating what caused the wreck and whether anyone else will face charges.
Nauman Hussain, 28, showed little emotion as he was arraigned today in an Albany-area court, and he ignored shouted questions from reporters as he left after posting $231,900 bond.
A judge had entered a not guilty plea for him.
Earlier, his lawyer said that Hussain wasn't guilty and that police were rushing to judgment in investigating Sunday's stretch limo wreck.
But State Police Superintendent George Beach said Hussain hired a driver who shouldn't have been behind the wheel of such a car, and the vehicle shouldn't have been driven after state inspectors deemed it "unserviceable" last month.
Hussain's car was packed with luggage when he was stopped Thursday on a highway near Albany, Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery said.
Hussain's lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said his client felt unsafe at home because he'd gotten threats.
The company, Prestige Limousine, has come under intense scrutiny since a 19-seater limo ran a stop sign and plowed into a parked SUV at the bottom of a long hill on Sunday.
The impact killed two pedestrians and 18 people in the limo, which was taking a group to a birthday bash.
Kindlon said his client handled only marketing duties and phone calls, while his father ran the company, though police called Hussain its operator.
Under New York law, criminally negligent homicide involves not perceiving a substantial, unjustifiable risk that leads to someone's death.
It's punishable by up to four years in prison.