VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y. - Almost one year after the fatal crash, a Voorheesville woman has been indicted for her role in a the accident that killed three elderly women last year.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares says a Grand Jury has indicted 55-year-old LuAnn Burgess, the driver of the vehicle the crashed into the St. Matthews Church in Voorheesville on August 10, 2011 killing 81-year-old Fran Pallozzi, 79-year-old Rosemarie Hume, both of Waterford, and 66-year-old Carol Lancing, of Green Island.
The women were part of a walking group, and were just making a pit-stop at the church to use the restroom.
Wednesday, Burgess was arraigned on one count of Vehicular Manslaughter 1st-degree, three counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide, all felonies, one count of Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence of Drugs, a misdemeanor, Reckless Driving, Driving at an Unreasonable Speed and Exceeding the Speed Limit.
"Grand Jury's decision was the final piece to the nearly yearlong investigation by this Office into one of the most tragic and complex motor vehicle crashes in this County's history," Soares said. "Everyone knew the result of what happened, but no one knew exactly what transpired to lead to three people losing their lives that day."
According to police, Burgess was driving 39 miles per hour down the road when her car then accelerated to 46 miles per hour as it hit the 3 victims.
Toxicology results showed Burgess had three different medications in her system; however she had prescriptions for all three. She is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Burgess claimed that the accident was caused when her flip flop slipped off her foot and held down the gas pedal.
"I cannot recall a case that has presented more internal debate and dialogue than this case," Soares said.
Despite the severe charges, Soares said Burgess is not your typical suspect when it comes to cases of vehicular manslaughter. "We didn't pursue this case to make her a villain, we won't be doing that, we won't be talking in that tone."
Burgess could face 20 to 25 years in prison, but the District Attorney's office says it is too early to tell exactly what kind of sentence they will be pursuing.