The limo that crashed last October in upstate New York, killing 20, was set to receive a new brake master cylinder in May 2018, and there was even an invoice that shows the part was put in. Turns out it wasn't, the ex-manager of a Mavis Discount Tire now claims, adding a new twist to the story, USA Today and the Times Union report. In a letter filed in court this week by Schoharie County DA Susan Mallery, Virgil Park—who used to run the shop where the 2001 stretch Ford Excursion owned by Prestige Limousine was taken for service—told the DA's office last month a worker at his shop later told him the brake part was never installed; Park adds the part was returned to the vendor 8 days later. An investigator-hired expert has already reported the crash was caused by "catastrophic brake failure," though the state's Department of Transportation hasn't yet officially weighed in.
Park claims it was apparently regular practice to falsify invoices in order to try to meet sales quotas from corporate and that a June 2018 invoice related to the limo and brake work was also falsified. Meanwhile, a trial for Nauman Hussain, who ran Prestige Limo and has been charged with criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter, will be held in March. Hussain allegedly kept the limo in rotation despite it failing two inspections and being ordered off the road by the NY DOT. In their own filing, Hussain's lawyers note, "Mavis's fraudulent conduct ... was the true legal cause of the accident." Mavis countered that, pointing out Hussain allegedly removed a DOT sticker from the limo that signaled it needed to stay off the road. Mavis added, without elaboration, that Park's statements are "inaccurate or misleading." (Read more limousine stories.)