The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the October 2018 limousine crash in Schoharie, New York that killed 20 people. The two-page report released Monday largely confirms most known facts of the October 6 crash.
A 2001 stretch SUV limousine carrying 18 people blew through the stop sign at the T-intersection of state Routes 30 and 30A “at a high rate of speed,” according to a witness. The limo, operated by Prestige Limousine, hit a parked SUV in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country store. The NTSB report says the limo's impact on the SUV caused the SUV to strike and kill two pedestrians. The limo then continued through the parking lot and came to rest in a ravine. All 18 people inside the limo were killed, including the driver.
“The original 137-inch-long wheelbase for the 2001 Ford Excursion had been lengthened by 180 inches to increase the seating capacity to 18 occupants,” the report reads. “To accommodate the additional passenger capacity, non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) seats were installed in the vehicle. These non-OEM seats were equipped with lap belts and oriented passengers away from a traditional forward-facing seating configuration. Additionally, the vehicle’s increased passenger capacity required the passenger-carrying operations of the limousine to be regulated by the New York State Department of Transportation. The National Transportation Safety Board continues to gather information on the modifications and mechanical condition of the vehicle, the seat belt usage and survivability of the passengers, and the oversight of the passenger-carrying operation by the New York State Department of Transportation and New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.”
State police have charged Nauman Hussain, operator of Prestige Limousine, with criminally negligent homicide. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bail.
The report added, “All aspects of the Schoharie, New York, crash remain under investigation as the NTSB focuses on determining the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes.”