Family of Driver in Horrific Limo Crash: Vehicle Was Unsafe

But a lawyer for the limo company says driver was 'unfamiliar with territory'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2018 6:48 PM CDT
Family of Driver in Horrific Limo Crash: Vehicle Was Unsafe
Family members and friends gather for a candlelight vigil memorial at Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam, NY, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.   (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

As names were released of more of the 20 victims in Saturday's upstate New York limousine crash, the family of one of those victims—limo driver Scott Lisinicchia—is speaking out. The 53-year-old "never would have knowingly put others in harm's way," a family statement reads. "The family believes [that] unbeknownst to him he was provided with a vehicle that was neither roadworthy nor safe for any of its occupants. We ask all members of the media and public to reserve judgment on the cause of the crash until the New York State Police and National Transportation Safety Board complete there investigations." Rochester First has the statement in full. More of the latest on the Schoharie crash:

  • Lisinicchia's widow also spoke to the Journal News, and said that whenever she heard Scott speaking to the manager at Prestige Limo, he made it clear he would not drive a vehicle unless it was in good condition. "He didn't want to put anyone in jeopardy," she says. A friend has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with expenses.

  • Authorities say Lisinicchia did have a commercial driver's license, but did not have the "passenger endorsement" required to drive groups of 15 or more adults. There were 17 passengers in the limo when it crashed; none survived.
  • The other two people killed were Brian Hough, 46, and James Schnurr, 71; they were in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store when the limo blew through a stop sign, crossed a highway, and hit a parked car in the lot. Hough was an assistant professor of geology at SUNY Oswego, and Schnurr was his father-in-law, the Sentinel reports. Hough's brother says Hough and his wife were in the area for a wedding and had just stopped at the store to eat.
  • Hough's mother has spoken to the New York Post. "We had three sons, and we lost one of them almost four years ago to cancer, and Brian was very helpful during that time," she says. "He’s just a very, warmhearted wonderful person. He’s a great father, a great son, and so now this is the second son we’ve lost in four years."
  • The 17-year-old limo had failed multiple safety inspections over the years, according to the Times-Union. But the attorney for the man who operates Prestige—owner Shahed Hussain's son, Nauman—downplays those issues. "I think [the driver] came up over that hill unfamiliar with territory. You just can't ... stop something like that," he tells the paper. "I think the state has been warned about that intersection for years and the Department of Transportation is just looking to point a finger."
  • The attorney also spoke to CBS News, insisting most of the infractions were minor and all had been fixed prior to the crash; he does not believe any contributed to the accident. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the vehicle had recently failed an inspection, and "The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road."
  • Oddly, two days before the crash, Prestige Limo listed the limo involved for sale on Craigslist. The Times-Union has more on that.
  • A criminal probe into the crash is ongoing. Meanwhile, articles focusing on the safety (or lack thereof) of modified limos abound; see a sampling here, here, here, and here.
(More limousine stories.)

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