SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Andrew Cuomo said the driver of the limousine involved in Saturday’s deadly crash in Schoharie did not have the appropriate license to be driving the vehicle. Twenty people were killed in the crash.
Cuomo said the limousine was inspected by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in September and failed its inspection. The governor said the limo should not have been on the road.
In addition, the limo operator, Prestige Limo, could face manslaughter charges as the driver was killed in the crash.
Attorney John Prudenti has 35 years of experience prosecuting homicides. He said any charges will come down to whether New York State Police find Prestige Limo negligent or reckless for the deaths of 20 people.
“Certainly the evidence is preliminary at this point, but it very well could be negligent charges, criminally negligent homicide charges, or manslaughter in the second degree,” he said.
The state is currently seeking a cease and desist order to stop Prestige Limo from operating until the investigation into the accident has been completed. The company retained an attorney Monday afternoon, who released the following statement:
Prestige Limousine extends its deepest condolences to the family members and friends of those who tragically lost their lives on Saturday. We are performing a detailed internal investigation to determine the cause of the accident and the steps we can take in order to prevent future accidents. We have voluntarily taken our fleet of vehicles off of the road during the investigation. We have already met with State and Federal investigators, and plan to do so again, as it is our goal to provide answers as quickly as possible
It’s not clear what the results were of the vehicle inspection and why it failed but with the information released by the governor, Prudenti is calling on Cuomo as well as Sen. Chuck Schumer for tougher regulations of the limo industry.
“It again illustrates the lack of oversight that we have with these companies,” he said.
Prudenti was the former district attorney in Suffolk County. He prosecuted a fatal limo accident killing four. The grand jury in 2016 released 156 pages detailing changes needed in the limo industry.
“We said at the time there is a fine thing between a limousine and a hearse,” he said. “And this is not something that you want to be prophetic about.”
Prudenti said what knowledge Prestige Limo has will dictate the severity of possible charges.