A National Transportation Safety Board report on the deadly limousine crash in Schoharie is waiting on a vital piece of evidence from New York State Police, as first reported by the Associated Press. The limousine remains in possession of troopers.
We know that several investigations are at play right now. There's a State Police criminal investigation, which follows the charging Prestige Limousine operator Nauman Hussain with criminally negligent homicide. Hussain’s father owns the company.
State Police director of public information Beau Duffy stated that the vehicle is the "most important piece of evidence" in that criminal investigation; that if the NTSB were allowed to handle evidence before its processed by state police and Hussain’s attorney, it would jeopardize the case.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Lee Kindlon said last week that the NTSB requested a number of documents from his client. While he says he was willing to turn them over, he explained after Hussain was arrested, that’s also in jeopardy because of the criminal case.
Duffy tells us it will take several weeks before state Police is done processing the limousine.
Full statement from NYSP:
The State Police and NTSB have been working hand-in-hand since the start of this investigation, and that will continue until the cause of this tragic crash has been determined.
The State Police has possession of the limousine under a search warrant as part of the criminal investigation. The vehicle is the most important piece of evidence that will help ultimately determine the cause of the crash, and the extent of any criminal wrongdoing.
The Schoharie County District Attorney has directed that the NTSB will be able to conduct a hands-on inspection of the vehicle once the State Police examination is complete, and after the defense attorney in the case has also had an opportunity to access the vehicle. This process should be completed in the next few weeks.
The preservation of evidence is critically important to the criminal case; if the NTSB were allowed to handle evidence before it has been fully examined and processed by the State Police and the defense, it would jeopardize the criminal case.
Consistent with long-standing criminal investigatory practices that have been in place for decades, law enforcement must first preserve evidence to be used in a criminal proceeding and then coordinate with the relevant state and federal agencies to support other investigations.
The NTSB is fully aware that the criminal case is the priority, and they understand that the vehicle must be fully processed by the State Police and the defense before they have an opportunity for a hands-on examination.