The family of a woman killed in an Albany limousine crash has filed a new lawsuit against the New York State government, arguing that the intersection where the crash took place was unsafe and poorly designed, CBS Local reports.
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A notice of claim filed against New York State's transportation and motor vehicle departments on Monday, December 10, 2018 also accuses state officials of allowing an unsafe limo to remain on the road. The limo had failed at least two previous inspections.
State officials have denied the claims, saying they acted appropriately under the circumstances. The lawsuit is being filed by the family of Amanda Rivenburg, one of 18 passengers killed when the limo blew through a stop sign and sped into an intersection outside of Albany on October 6, 2018.
The accident, which also claimed the lives of two pedestrians, has been ranked as the worst in America since 2009. The group was on their way to a brewery at the time. They had gathered to celebrate the 30th birthday of Amanda "Amy" Halse, piling into a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine owned and operated by Prestige Limo, an Albany-area company run by Nauman Hussain and owned by Hussain's father, Shahed Hussain.
Hussain, 28, now faces charges of criminally negligent homicide for his role in the crash. State officials have learned that the Ford Excursion failed at least two inspections this year alone. "The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain," says Police Superintendent George Beach.
Alongside their planned lawsuit against state regulators, the Rivenburg family has also filed suit against Hussain and his father, arguing that the limo company's negligence led to a dangerous vehicle remaining on the road. Hussain's father was in Pakistan at the time of the accident.
Police nabbed Nauman Hussain in a traffic stop on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Authorities say he had packed bags in his car, making him a flight risk, but defense attorneys argued that the young man was receiving death threats and needed to move out of his home. If convicted, Hussain faces up to four years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and was released on $150,000 bail. Interestingly, his father was once an undercover informant for the FBI.
There is also evidence that the limousine driver, Scott Lisinicchia, may have been operating the limo without the proper license. Lisinicchia was stopped by a trooper in August in Saratoga Springs, and cited for driving 11 passengers in the same vehicle without a proper license for additional passengers.
The State Department of Transportation has confirmed that the limousine failed two state inspections, in March and September of this year. After the failed inspection in September, the Democrat and Chronicle reports, the state placed a sticker on the limousine to take the vehicle out of service. Yet Lisinicchia was still driving the limo on the night of October 6, when the driver ran a stop sign and raced into a parked SUV in Schoharie, New York.
State prosecutors argue that Nauman Hussain hired Scott Lisinicchia to drive a limo, despite knowing that he did not have the proper license. A criminal complaint against the limo company operator also claims that he knew or should have known that the Ford Excursion had mechanical deficiencies, including a problem with its brakes that would have made stopping difficult.
A defense attorney for Hussain says his client is innocent. The lawyer attempted to lay more of the responsibility at the feet of Hussain's father, Shahed Hussain, saying that Nauman had little to do with the day-to-day operations of Prestige Limo.
In a press statement, Prestige Limo said it had taken its fleet of limousines off the road. State regulators have seized at least three of the company's vehicles, in addition to the Ford Excursion involved in the crash.