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Driver in Voorheesville triple fatality sentenced

DA calls on medical professionals to be responsible when prescribing drugs

— The driver in last year’s car crash outside a Voorheesville church that killed three people was sentenced in Albany County Court today.

LuAnn Burgess, 55, was given five years of probation with 600 hours of community service. She will not serve any jail time. As a condition of the plea, she cannot operate a motor vehicle for the rest of her life.

In August of 2012, Burgess was charged with felony aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and three counts of criminally negligent homicide. The charges were leveled nearly one year after the crash took place. She was also charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs, along with other traffic violations.

"When tragedies like this occur, no one ever wants to accept any part of the responsibility, however, I want to remind everyone that we all have a collective responsibility to prevent anything like this from happening again," said Albany County District Attorney David Soares in a statement. "The doctors prescribing medications, the patients taking medications, and the friends and family of those taking these medications must all realize the risks that can occur when taking prescription medication."

On Aug. 10, 2011, Burgess was dropping off her 6-year-old foster son at Voorheesville Elementary School and began to head east on Mountainview Street toward home, according to then Albany County Acting Sheriff Craig Apple. According to police, her flip-flop sandal fell off near the gas pedal, leading her to lose control of the SUV and strike three elderly women standing in front of St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church.

It was later discovered through a round of toxicology reports that Burgess allegedly had several medications in her system at the time of the crash that were being used to treat her Parkinson's disease.

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