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(SKY NEWS) — The son of a limousine company owner has been arrested over the deaths of 20 people after a crash in upstate New York.
Prestige Limousine operator Nauman Hussain was charged with criminally negligent homicide after being arrested on a highway near Albany.
The company has come under intense scrutiny after Saturday’s crash in the New York town of Schoharie, in which two pedestrians and 18 people were killed when a limousine crashed into a car outside a shop.
New York State Police superintendent George Beech said Hussain is solely responsible for the “unserviceable” limo being on the road.
State officials say the vehicle failed an inspection on 4 September, and had problems with its anti-lock brake system and a malfunction with the indicator system.
The company’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, has said safety problems were corrected but the state claims this is not the case.
Mr Kindlon says Hussain, 28, handled marketing and phone calls while his father ran the company.
Prestige Limousine is owned by Shahed Hussain, who worked as an informant for the FBI after the 9/11 attacks.
He infiltrated Muslim groups by posing as a terrorist sympathiser in at least three investigations.
The vehicle’s driver, Scott Lisinicchia, who was killed in the crash, had been stopped by a state trooper in Saratoga Springs on 25 August.
He was told he lacked the proper licence to drive the Ford Excursion 2001 limousine.
Mr Lisinicchia drove through a stop sign before fatally hitting the bystanders in the car park of the Apple Barrel County Store on Sunday.
His widow told CBS News on Wednesday that her husband had expressed concerns about the safety of the company’s vehicles.
She claims he said several times that he needed a different vehicle.
Mr Kindlon says the driver might have misjudged his ability to stop at the bottom of a hill.
Erin McGowan, one of the crash victims, texted a friend saying a party bus that was supposed to take them to Cooperstown had broken down on the way to pick them up.
She added that the group obtained a limo from Prestige instead, The New York Times reports.
McGowan reportedly texted to say that the limo was in poor condition, with its motor “making everyone deaf.”
The funeral of the four King sisters who were killed in the crash is set to take place on Saturday morning.
Three of their husbands and the brother of one of the husbands will be buried in the same service.