Three women were struck and killed in a car accident Wednesday while standing outside a church in a suburb of Albany, New York. The driver, Luann Burgess, lost control of the SUV and crashed into a wall of the church after striking the women. Burgess survived the crash, and the accident is under investigation.
Funeral services for victims Frances Pallozzi, 81, and Carol Lansing, 66, were held Monday, while 79-year-old victim Rosemarie Hume’s funeral was held Sunday. The women were about to start a 3-mile walk through the village of Voorheesville.
LuAnn Burgess has not been charged for the accident, but has hired a legal team due to the investigation over the accident outside of St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church. Retired Albany County Judge Larry Rosen is a member of Burgess’ legal team, the Times Union reports.
“Mrs. Burgess, as you might imagine, is devastated emotionally by the horrific accident,” said Judge Rosen.
Police say that information gathered from Burgess’ SUV indicates the vehicle was moving at 38 MPH before the crash, and accelerated to 46 MPH just before impact. The speed limit at the location is 30 mph.
Burgess told authorities that the accident was caused by interference with her flip-flop and the gas pedal before she struck the women and crashed into the church. Albany Country Sheriff, Craig Apple, says the Toyota Highlander’s data clip shows that brakes were not applied at all at the time of the accident.
“I’m concerned about the version we were told,” Apple told the Times Union. “Was she looking down trying to pick the sandal up? Why did she seem to turn toward a group of people? Was she texting? We’re trying to get to the bottom of all the questions. We have no idea at this point.”
He also told the local paper that the accident was “the toughest scene I’ve ever had to deal with.”
The sheriff’s office is awaiting results from an alcohol and drug screening. Burgess, who has a valid driving license and a flawless driving record, is not suspected of having been intoxicated at the time of the crash, but a decision on whether charges will be confirmed upon the completion of the investigation.