SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Witness testimony continued on day three of the Schoharie Limo Trial. Susan Mallery, Schoharie County District Attorney, called Virgil Park, the former store manager of the Mavis Discount Tire on South Broadway in Saratoga Springs, to the stand.
Nauman Hussain is charged with 20 counts of manslaughter and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with the 2018 crash that killed 20 people. Park told Mallery that Hussain made the final decisions as to what repairs were made to the limo.
Park testified he saw Hussain multiple times in 2018 for service to the 2001 Ford Excursion involved in the crash. Between April and May 2018, Park said Mavis replaced the brake pads, a caliper on the rear driver side, and issues with the brake pedal, but there were other issues with the brake system that were not repaired.
In May, Hussian asked for an immediate inspection of the limo which Park says he was able to do because the limo was registered as a passenger vehicle with the DMV, not a commercial vehicle with the DOT. Park explained that if it were registered as limo with more than 16 passengers, an error message would have popped up on that state inspection system and not allowed him to perform an inspection.
During this testimony, we heard Park describe another appointment with Hussain in June and additional repairs that needed to be made to that brake system including all four calipers, brake hoses, and the master cylinder. District Attorney Susan Mallery asked Park if he said anything to Hussain about the condition of the limousine at that point. Park told the court “I actually told him to burn it.”
Defense Attorney Lee Kindlon asked Park about discrepancies between what work Park said was actually performed and the invoice dated May 11, 2018, for parts and work performed on the limo. At one point during questioning, Kindlon told Park: “I’m just trying to figure out what on this bill you lied about.”
Park told the court that work on the master cylinder, for which parts and labor were charged, was not done and neither was a brake system flush. Park said, alternatively, they bled the brake system.
Two mechanics, who worked at Mavis, also testified; talking about the repairs they made to the limo brakes and the repairs they didn’t make, including the master cylinder. One mechanic said he objected multiple times to working on and inspecting the limo, but was ordered by Park to continue that work, telling the court he skipped the process of inspecting the vehicle entirely, but passing it on record. None of the mechanics in court said they saw vice grips or an out of service sticker on the vehicle, which we were told by Chad Smith, on May 9, 2023, he saw on the vehicle shortly after his initial DOT inspection in March 2018 that placed the vehicle out of service.
Then, David Roy, a former member of the New York State Police commercial motor vehicle enforcement unit, testified.
Roy said he noticed a white limousine stopped on East Avenue in Saratoga Springs in August 2018, without a DOT number or business name on either side of the limo. Then, he said he spoke to the driver and checked the vehicle registration, which said the vehicle was only permitted for a capacity of 8 passengers, despite seeing 11 passengers exit the vehicle.
Roy added the driver, Scott Lisinicchia, did not have a passenger endorsement on his Commercial Driver’s License, which is needed for vehicles with a capacity over 16 people.
Roy said Hussain told him there was no DOT registration number for the limousine because it was a new company, titled Saratoga Luxury Limo.
Roy issued several violations including missing CDL endorsements, not having a DOT registration, and the company name properly registered and displayed on the limo.
Martin Duffy, an employee with the state DOT, testified at the end of the day about the different violations cited by Roy and regulations Hussain needed to comply with in order to operate his limousine companies.
He said he was unable to find Hussain’s name, his father’s name or the names of Saratoga Luxury Limousine or Prestige Limousine in the DOT commercial vehicle registration database.
Duffy said Hussain had a hearing to address those violations set for Oct. 5, 2018, just one day before the fatal crash.