Limo company says car ‘not at fault’
THE company whose stretch limo was involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York denied on Tuesday that safety violations uncovered during an inspection last month caused the car to run through a stop sign and careen into a ditch.
"I don't think that these infractions were what led to the tragedy," Prestige Limousine lawyer Lee Kindlon told CBS News in the US.
According to the New York Post, Mr Kindlon also said the "safety issues" with the customised 2001 Ford Excursion "had been addressed and corrected."
In another interview on Good Morning America, Mr Kindlon disputed assertions by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who on Monday said the Department of Transportation had faulted the limo's "suspension system, chassis system, braking system."
"We understand what the governor is saying, what the [Department of Transportation] is saying, certainly it is in their interests to point away from any failures on behalf of the state," Mr Kindlon said.
"But as we understand right now, the inspections last month were minor things, windshield wipers, a latch on a windshield that needed to be fixed."
Governor Cuomo has also warned of potential "legal consequences" for Prestige owner Shahed Hussain because he "had no business putting [a] failed vehicle on the road."
Mr Hussain, 62, is a former FBI informant who the New York State police said on Monday is not in the country.
All 18 people inside the limo - including the driver, who wasn't properly licensed - were killed in Saturday's crash outside the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe in Schoharie, about 265km north of New York City.
Two pedestrians were also killed when they were hit by a parked car that the limo struck while careening through the Apple Barrel's car park.