On October 6, 2018, a limousine crashed in upstate New York, killing 20 people. Now, the parents of one of the victims has filed a lawsuit in state court against the vehicle’s operators, alleging gross negligence. Prestige Limousine is owned by Shahed Hussain and his son, Nauman Hussain.
The complaint, filed by the parents of Amanda Rivenburg, claims that the operators were grossly negligent “in putting the dangerous and defective vehicles on the road.” The operators allegedly kept the limousine “on the road after it failed inspection for brake problems and other issues.” The lawsuit also alleges that a windshield sticker placed on the limousine by state transportation officials deeming the vehicle “unserviceable” was removed before the accident. Records show that the limousine failed two state inspections, one in March and again in September.
During the September inspection, two of Prestige’s limos were ordered off the road after significant problems with brakes and tires were discovered. One of the vehicles was deemed unfit for service because of faulty brakes. The inspection also uncovered that Prestige was operating that limo without proof of periodic inspection, and that the fire extinguisher was defective. The second vehicle was deemed unfit due to worn tires. This vehicle also violated state standards due to defective windshield wipers and fire extinguishers.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages based “on the grossly negligent, willful misconduct and complete indifference exemplified by the defendants and their conscious disregard to the health and safety of the patrons.”
Rivenburg, 29, was among 18 people in the limousine when it barreled through a stop sign, down a hill, and crashed into a ravine. The accident occurred in a small town 35 miles outside of Albany. Two pedestrians were also killed. The Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board has stated that it was the deadliest transportation-related accident in the United Stated since February 2009, when 50 people were killed in an airplane crashed into a house near Buffalo, New York.
The occupants of the Limousine were on their way to a brewery to celebrate a 30th birthday. Rivernburg worked for a non-profit that assisted individuals with disabilities. Four sisters were also killed in the accident. So too were a newlywed couple. The two pedestrians were visiting a country store when the limousine crashed through the parking lot.
Nauman Hussain was arrested in connection to the crash, and has pleaded not guilty to a charge of criminally negligent homicide. State police have said that Shahed Hussain has been in Pakistan since before the crash occurred. A lawyer representing the Hussains has said that she has no comment on the pending litigation.
The safety of the intersection has also been called into question. Numerous accidents, most involving tractor-trailers, have occurred when vehicles have failed to stop at the stop sign in question. Local officials have made previous attempts to improve the safety of the intersection, but to no apparent avail.