Federal investigators said Tuesday that a limo company’s “serious disregard for safety” was behind a 2018 accident that killed 20 people in New York.
In a news release, the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, also blamed the New York State Transport Department, which said it contributed to the accident through “ineffective inspection” of the company, Prestige Limousine.
The agency said the brake system failure on the modified SUV was that a group of friends hired for a surprise party. 6 accidents occurred in which all 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians were killed in rural Shohri, west of Albany.
Four sisters and her three husbands were among those who died.
Investigators concluded that the limo driver presumably tried – and failed – to apply the brakes as the SUV reached speeds of 100 mph, while taking care of a steep hill, flying through an intersection and crashing into a ravine. Done, the agency said.
According to the Associated Press, NTSB board member Michael Graham said during a hearing on Tuesday, “Seventeen young people made the smart, safe decision to arrange quiet transportation while celebrating.” “He built his trust and security in a system built for his safety, and it failed.”
The operator of Prestige, Nauman Hussain has pleaded guilty to 20 charges and criminal negligence. According to the AP, his trial was scheduled to begin in May, but was delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic.
A lawyer representing Hussein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The NTSB also stated that the state Department of Transportation was aware that Prestige had several “out of service” violations and was not allowed to operate. Nor was the SUV properly registered with the State Department of Motor Vehicles, which allowed the company to “surround” state safety regulations and stricter inspection requirements, the agency said.
NTSB President Robert Sumwalt said, “Those who are responsible for protecting us can be prevented on many occasions to save us from knowing this tragedy.”
A joint statement from New York’s Department of Transportation and Motor Vehicles stated that regulators “exercised the full authority granted to us under the law and ordered the removal of that vehicle from the road multiple times, but as noted by the NTSB The New York State law was not violated at any time to repeatedly operate commercial passenger vehicle service in the state, confirms in its report on the accident.
The statement said New York has implemented some of the country’s toughest laws overseeing commercial vehicle safety.