ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York City regulators failed to do what they could to stop a poorly maintained limousine that rolled down a hill and crashed in 2018, killing 20 people, state regulators say.

State Inspector General Lucy Lang released a report Friday night echoing federal regulators who concluded in 2020 that the Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles failed to monitor a limousine that crashed into a shallow ravine west of Albany, N.Y. York, 6 October 2018.

The operator, Prestige, repeatedly changed the number of seats in the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine and took other measures to avoid safety regulations, government officials said.

The inspector general’s report said that while the office found no evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing by employees of the two agencies, it found “significant gaps in policy, procedures and interagency communication” that prevented the limousine operator’s misconduct from being quickly identified and addressed.

The inspector said that regulators missed an opportunity to identify problems with the limousine’s registration and that the transport department did not take all necessary steps to confiscate the car’s license plates.

“Egregious entities that repeatedly violate DOT regulations, such as Prestige, should be matched with a more urgent response,” the report said.

The Transportation Department strongly disagreed with some of the report’s assertions, including the conclusion that it could have unilaterally initiated the license plate forfeiture process, said Marie Therese Dominguez, the agency’s commissioner.

The agencies agreed with the report’s recommendations to improve limousine safety.

Axel Steenburg rented a limousine for his new wife’s 30th birthday. Seventeen family members and friends were killed in a limousine crash, along with the driver and two bystanders outside a country store.

The National Transportation Safety Board in 2020 found that the accident was likely caused by the Prestige’s “gross disregard for safety,” which caused the brakes to fail on a long stretch of downhill road, and therefore ineffective government oversight.

Prestige operator Nauman Hussain faces trial next spring on 20 counts of negligent homicide and second-degree manslaughter. A judge recently rejected a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid prison time.

Hussain’s lawyers say he was trying to service the limousine and relied on what he was told by government officials and the repair shop that inspected it.

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