A judge rejected a plea agreement that meant there would be no jail time for the operator of a limousine company involved in an accident that killed 20 people in New York. Wednesday’s turn drew applause and tears from the relatives of the victims and plunged Nauman Hussain, the owner of the limo company, into legal uncertainty.
State Supreme Court Justice Peter Lynch, who was not presiding over the Hussein case when the deal was struck a year ago, called the agreement “fundamentally flawed.”
It would have spared Hussain jail time, angering the families of those killed when brake failure sent a stretch limo full of birthday fun to a man who fell down a hill in 2018.
The judge’s disapproval left lawyers and relatives baffled. The family members, who had, moments earlier, testified about their grief and anger that no one was responsible for the fatal accident, clapped and patted their eyes after the judge’s announcement.
“I can’t even put into words how I feel. Completely unexpected. Thank goodness,” Jill Richardson-Perez, mother of limo accident victim Matthew Koons, said as she left the court. “I’m in a better place now.”
Kevin Cushing, who lost his son Patrick in the accident, said the families hope to get “a little bit of justice in a future where we haven’t got any justice in the past.”