Schoharie County DA: Mavis Tire allegations do not exonerate Prestige Limo operator

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SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The operator of the limo company in the Schoharie crash is not exonerated by the October 7 District Attorney’s office letter that stated Mavis Discount Tire falsified records, that’s according to new court documents released Wednesday by Schoharie County DA Susan Mallery. 

The letter scolds the defense attorney for Nauman Hussain, the operator of the limousine company that owned the limo that crashed last October, killing 20 people.

In the letter, the DA’s office clarified their take on the interview they conducted with Virgil Park, a former Mavis Discount Tire manager on how the auto shop operated. Mallery states the work improperly cited on the Mavis invoice had nothing to do with the deadly crash. 

The DA’s office reiterated that the limousine’s braking system would have been discovered if it had the proper State DOT bus inspection. The DA’s office said the defendant, Hussain, was made aware of this since March of 2018, when an inspector put an out-of-service sticker on the limo. Hussain was reminded in June that if the limo was used to transport people for money, it would require the State DOT bus inspection and if not he would be subject to enforcement.

Hussain’s attorneys responded to DA Mallery’s letter late Wednesday night saying, “Rather than falsely accusing an innocent man, the community would be better served if the District Attorney focused its intention on Mavis’s alleged fraudulent billing practices, which is apparently the true direct cause of this tragic accident.”

Earlier this month, the DA’s office said a former employee at the South Broadway location told them that he did not perform the DMV inspection but provided the New York State DMV inspection sticker needed for the inspection. He also stated that the limousine was occasionally linked on paperwork as a 2002 Excursion and a F-350.

The auto shop wrote the installation of a “brake master cylinder and brake system flush” when all they did was a “brake system bleed” on one wheel. 

Mallery states in her letter that “neither the brake master cylinder nor the lack of a brake system flush led to the deadly crash.” She wrote the crash was caused by “catastrophic brake failure” due to a lack of maintenance and by Hussein allegedly removing a State DOT “out of service” sticker and putting the limo back on the road. 

“The issues on the limo’s braking system would have been discovered through proper vehicle inspection and maintenance,” she said.

The trial date for Hussain is still set for March 9, 2020.

A spokesperson for Mavis sent NEWS10 ABC the following statement:

“Many of the statements attributed to Mr. Virgil Park, a former Mavis employee, in the October 7 letter, as well as those made by Mr. Nauman Hussain’s criminal defense attorneys in the October 8 letter, are inaccurate or misleading. 

Mavis is committed to providing high quality, safe, affordable services to our customers. Our service and billing policies are honest, fair and sound and we vehemently disagree with any allegations to the contrary.  Mr. Hussain and his criminal defense lawyers are attempting to falsely attack Mavis in a desperate diversion tactic to shift responsibility away from Mr. Hussain, where it solely belongs.

The vehicle in question traveled more than a thousand miles over several months since it was serviced at Mavis. During that time, Mr. Hussain, according to the District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Police, committed serious crimes by, among other things, defying an order to take the vehicle out of service.

Our thoughts and condolences remain with the victims of this tragic accident. Mavis did not cause the accident, however, and bears no legal responsibility for it. Mavis continues to fully cooperate with authorities as a witness in the criminal case against Mr. Hussain.”


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