Medications a factor in sentence of Voorheesville woman - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Medications a factor in sentence of Voorheesville woman

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Albany, N.Y. - The Albany Country District Attorneys office said Friday that the case involving the death of three women in Voorheesville in 2011 has been the most complicated one they've ever had. A major point in the courtroom came down to medicine.

"I pray the souls of your loved ones rest in peace," said LuAnn Burgess of Voorheesville.

Burgess, 56, apologized to the families of the three women who were killed when she struck them with her vehicle in Voorheesville on August 10th, 2011. Burgess admitted to driving after taking prescribed medications for Parkinson's disease. At the center of this case was the questions of exactly how responsible she was for the tragedy.

"We listen to our doctors. LuAnn Burgess listened to her doctors. It may be that that medication contributed, the combination of medications , legal prescribed doses you heard that contributed to a horrific accident," said Burgess' Attorney Larry Rosen.

In court Friday it was said that a few weeks prior to the accident Burgess' doctor helped her obtain a handicapped license.The prosecution asked the judge to sentence Burgess to jail time after she pled guilty to three counts of criminally negligent homicide , hoping the punishment would cause awareness for others who drive on certain medications.

"Countless people will wake up tomorrow swallow a handful of prescription pills and make a decision about whether to get behind the wheel of a car. Many of those people will see how Mrs. Burgess walks away from your bench," said Assistant District Attorney, Mary Tanner-Richter.

Burgess walked away with 5 years probation, never to drive again and 600 hours of community service. The judge asked her to speak to other seniors about her experience.

"Neither her primary physician or any other physicians or the Department of Motor Vehicles had ever told or even advised her not to drive," said Hon. Judge Stephen Herrick.

Herrick also made a plea Friday to medical professionals saying they need to be more careful when prescribing medications to patients who will be driving.

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