Driver in Fatal New York Crash Alleges Gas Pedal Mishap

Driver in Fatal New York Crash Alleges Gas Pedal MishapA woman in Albany, New York, recently lost control of her vehicle and allegedly struck three people outside of a church, killing all three, the Times Union reports.

Currently the district attorney's office is deciding whether the woman, LuAnn Burgess, should be arrested in connection with the crash. In response, Burgess has hired a legal team to defend her in case the matter goes to court.

Killed in the crash were Carol Lansing, Rosemarie Hume and Frances Pallozzi.

After the crash, Burgess told investigators that she was wearing her husband's sandals while dropping her foster child off at a summer camp at the elementary school next to the church. She claimed that one of the flip-flops fell off her foot and lodged under the gas pedal, so she bent down to retrieve it and lost control of her vehicle. She allegedly accelerated up to 46 miles per hour when the victims were struck.

Burgess, 55, allegedly took medication the morning of the crash, but police told the newspaper that she did not appear to be intoxicated at the time of the accident. It is unclear what medication or how much was consumed. Results from the toxicology exam are due later in the investigation.

Other malfunctions or mishaps have been blamed for motor vehicle deaths in past years.

In June 2007, a driver in Haverhill, Massachusetts, killed a woman as her out-of-control Mercedes-Benz crashed near a car wash, the Eagle-Tribune reports. The driver, Marie Pigaga, was subsequently charged with reckless operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, a marked lanes violation and motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

However, Pigaga argued that her vehicle's brakes and steering failed, causing the car to jump a two-foot-high retaining wall and drive approximately 50 feet before colliding with Robin Young.

Young was wiping down her vehicle after coming out of a car wash. Her 12-year-old daughter, Taylor, witnessed the accident from inside the car.

According to the news source, investigators had the car tested by the head mechanic at a local Mercedes-Benz dealership. The mechanic concluded that there was nothing wrong with the brakes, steering or acceleration systems.

After two mistrials, Pigaga was found guilty of motor vehicle homicide at the third trial in October 2010. She was ordered to spend 60 days in jail and to perform 100 hours of community service.

Another case alleging vehicle malfunction was also resolved in 2010, according to WSYR. A recalled Toyota Camry was involved in a fatal three-car accident in Auburn, New York, in November 2009 that killed Colleen Trousdale, a driver in another car.

However, Police stated that Barbara Kraushaar lost control of her Camry because of a medical condition. They came to this conclusion after investigators examined results from the vehicle's event data recorder, similar to an airplane's black box.

Investigators allegedly found that data indicated that the brakes were not applied during the last five seconds leading up to the accident. In addition, the data showed that the gas pedal was pressed and released several times. Police suggest that the medical condition the driver was suffering from led her to believe she was pressing the brake pedal when she was pressing the gas pedal instead.

The 2010 Camry was one of several Toyota vehicles recalled in September of 2009 because problems with the floor mat could interfere with the vehicle's accelerator. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration was called to Auburn to investigate a vehicle malfunction was a possible cause for the deadly collision.