Former limousine company operator Nauman Hussain was sentenced Wednesday morning to 5-15 years in prison after his conviction for 20 counts of manslaughter stemming from the limo crash in Schoharie — one of the deadliest traffic disasters of the last decade.
It was an emotional and heartwrenching day as the families addressed Hussain and made their final pleas to the judge to impose the maximum sentence. And while they said today wasn’t about closure, it did bring loved ones justice.
“We now have an opportunity to think about the kids, to mourn the kids and to have this part lessened,” said Kevin Cushing, father of Patrick Cushing.
Earlier this month, a Schoharie County jury returned a guilty verdict in 20 counts of manslaughter against Hussain, 33, after seven hours of deliberations. Investigators said the October 2018 crash was the result of catastrophic brake failure, and prosecutors said Hussain knowingly put an unsafe limo on the road.
#BREAKING Nauman Hussain has been sentenced to 5-15 years for his conviction of 20 counts manslaughter in the Limo crash that killed 20 people in #Schoharie back in October of 2018. @SpecNews1Albany @SPECNews1CNY @SPECNews1ROC @SPECNews1BUF @SPECNews1HV pic.twitter.com/4bSQcAlOKd— Melissa Steininger (@melissasteinTV) May 31, 2023
“The reality of what he’s about to go through has set in," said Lee Kindlon, Hussain’s attorney. "But again, what Nauamn Hussain is about to deal with, I think we all realize, is a lot different than what the families are experiencing.”
The majority of these families said they finally feel some justice after 4 1/2 years since the crash.
Before Judge Peter Lynch handed down the sentence, family members of some of the 20 victims addressed the court and Hussain with impact statements.
"It makes me and my family sick to know a $2,000 brake repair could have saved the 20 lives," said Kevin Cushing. "When you look in the mirror in prison, know this sentence is self-inflicted."
“You will only receive at most, 15 years. While the rest of us here have received a life sentence” -Bethany King, sister-in-law to all four King sisters, and their three husbands lost in the crash #schoharie— Melissa Steininger (@melissasteinTV) May 31, 2023
The families say they will be at every parole hearing to make sure Hussain receives the maximum penalty. But Hussain's attorney said it isn’t over just yet, as he filed a notice of appeal in the ruling of the case in the afternoon.
There are still unanswered questions about the case.
A Mavis Discount Tire store manager admitted under oath that he charged for multiple services on the limo's brake lines that were never completed, and passed an inspection on the vehicle without looking at it.
The prosecution argued the vehicle shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place, because Hussain did not have DOT authority to operate his business. They detailed the standing disregard Hussain had for the state rules and regulations, including taking the vehicle to Mavis — which doesn’t have the DOT authority to perform inspections on limos — for an inspection.
Hussain had initially entered a guilty plea in the crash that would have required community service, but resulted in no prison time. But a judge rejected the agreement, calling it "fundamentally flawed."
The sentence happened only because of a rarely seen move from Judge Peter Lynch, family members said.
“He gave us a voice, and he gave us an opportunity,” Kevin Cushing said.
The families again had a chance to address Hussain, but this time, he was facing a much stiffer sentence.
“You have received a justified guilty verdict that is still only 8-15 years, while the rest of us here has received a life sentence,” Bethany King said.
Hussain was given a chance to address the families for the first time, but his counsel advised against it.
“I was praying that he at least, at the very least, say he was sorry,” said Jill Richardson-Perez, mother of Matthew Coons.
“He’s never in all this time said he was sorry, but now he gets to think about that for next 5 to 15 years,” said Donna Rivenburg, mother of Amanda Rivenburg.
The families say they will attend at every parole hearing to make sure Hussain serves maximum time.
Hussain's attorney has filed a notice to appeal the decision.