Lawyer for limo company denies safety violations led to deadly crash

10 October, 2018, 18:48 | Author: Carlos George
  • CC BY-SA 2.0

Lawyers for the family of a limousine driver who died along with 19 others in an upstate NY accident and the owner of the vehicle are clashing over the cause of the deadliest USA transport accident in almost a decade.

"My heart is sunken".

Authorities didn't say whether the limo occupants were wearing seat belts, give the speed of the limo or speculate what caused the limo to run a stop sign at an intersection and slam into a parked SUV by the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe.

NY police have yet to disclose what caused limousine driver Scott Lisinicchia to lose control, but there has been speculation that the vehicle was modified to "make it stretch". Robert Patnaude said. State police seized three of the company's vehicles in addition to the modified limo involved in the crash, Patnaude said. Twenty people, including driver Scott Lisinicchia, were killed Saturday. The company's lawyer says the issues had been corrected.

"It's tragic. terrible. I can't even begin to even explain", Abeling said in an interview Sunday from upstate NY, where her family was gathered.

"The vehicle was inspected by the New York State Department of Transportation last month and failed inspection and was not supposed to be on the road". "Prestige has a lot of questions to answer".

Investigators also will be looking into "human performance" - the driver's history and qualifications, conducting toxicology tests and determining whether fatigue was a factor, he said.

Authorities said the limousine company, Prestige Limousine, was cooperating in the investigation.

The 2001 Ford Expedition stretch limousine owned by Prestige Limousine of Wilton was cited by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration for malfunction indications in the hydraulic breaking system in a September 4 inspection, among other issues.

The paper obtained copies of documents filed after both inspections that detailed serious issues with the limo's brake system, including connections with constrictions, brakes out of service and a malfunction of the anti-lock braking system indicators.

"I don't think that these infractions were what led to the tragedy", attorney Lee Kindlon told CBS News in an interview.

Hussain, owner of Prestige Limousine in nearby Saratoga County, is out of the country, in Pakistan.

Kindlon tells the Times Union of Albany the driver may have been unfamiliar with the roadway and misjudged his ability to stop at the bottom of the hill.

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He testified in at least one federal case, records show.

His role at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was assailed by civil liberties groups, who accused him of helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation entrap people.

Family members and friends gather for a candlelight vigil memorial at Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam, N.Y., on October 8, 2018.

Lisinicchia was driving the limousine that ran through a stop sign Saturday at the bottom of a T-intersection on a rural road 25 miles west of Albany.

He said the aim of the investigation was to determine how to prevent such a devastating crash from ever occurring again, and did not rule out that the probe could shed broader insights on the safety of passenger limousines themselves.

The crash appeared to be the deadliest land-vehicle accident in the USA since a bus ferrying nursing home patients away from Hurricane Rita caught fire in Texas 2005, killing 23.

THE company whose stretch limo was involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate NY denied on Tuesday that safety violations uncovered during an inspection last month caused the vehicle to run through a stop sign and careen into a ditch. But luxury cars that have been converted to limos like the one in Saturday's crash often lack certain safety components, such as side-impact air bags, reinforced rollover protection bars and accessible emergency exits.

Factory-built limousines must meet stringent safety regulations. After-market modifications can affect a vehicle's structural integrity and safety, said Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board.

There are few federal regulations governing limos that have been modified after leaving the factory.

Adding new regulationsto try to stop exceedingly rare accidents is rarely effective and can often be counter-productive.

Ford said it has never made its own stretch version of the Excursion SUV. It did certify outside companies to modify them to Ford specifications for up to 14 seats during the 2001 model year, but it wasn't clear who modified the SUV that crashed Saturday. That grand jury called on Cuomo to assemble a task force on limousine safety. "Sometimes people just don't follow the law". "And that may very well be what happened here".

Lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Under state law, the limo's driver would have been required to wear one as a front-seat passenger, while the passengers in the back would not.

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