SCHOHARIE — The operator of a limousine company involved in the Route 30 limousine crash that left 20 people dead may enter a guilty plea in the case Thursday.
Prosecution and defense previously have had discussions about a potential plea by Nauman Hussain, who was indicted on 20 counts each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in Schoharie County Court.
The level of potential interest in the case, and the large number of survivors of victims, prompted the legal proceeding to be relocated from the County Courthouse to Schoharie High School, a short distance up Main Street in Schoharie.
The court appearance scheduled Sept. 2 comes nearly 35 months after the Oct. 6, 2018, crash, which was the nation’s deadliest transportation disaster in a decade.
A lengthy investigation of the wrecked limo and the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited court operations, both helped push back resolution of the case.
Hussain operated Prestige Limousine of Wilton. Prosecutors maintain he knew the stretched 2001 Ford Excursion limo was defective but dispatched it nonetheless to carry a party of 17 people from Amsterdam to Cooperstown on a birthday outing.
The limo’s brakes apparently failed as it descended the Route 30 hill. It blew through a stop sign at the intersection with Route 30A, rocketed across the road, hit a parked car and slammed into a ravine. All 17 passengers were killed, as were the limo driver and two bystanders in the parking lot.
Multiple lawsuits by victims’ families have targeted Hussain, his company and the company Hussain hired to maintain the limo’s brakes.
Members of the public who want to attend Thursday’s legal proceeding will be allowed to enter no earlier than noon. They will be required to wear face coverings and to be seated 6 feet apart. Audio and video recordings and still photography are prohibited.
The high school is on Academy Drive, directly off Main Street in the village.