By Jon Cronin, Editor
A Jackson Heights woman could face up to 22 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in a 2015 car crash that killed a mother and her two young daughters, the Queens district attorney said.
Deborah C. Burns, 48, was convicted last month on charges of second-degree manslaughter and assault. Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise sentenced Burns to an indeterminate five to 15 years of incarceration on the manslaughter charges, seven years on the assaults and then three years of post-release supervision.
The parents of the victim were also seriously injured in the crash on July 1, 2015 in Bayside.
Queens DA Richard Brown said that the defendant was speeding in a 2006 Ford Explorer when she veered over the double yellow line and crashed into a 2005 Toyota Camry driven by 75-year-old Young Ju Ha on 210th Street, which is behind a school and in front of a playground.
Court records revealed that the Explorer’s crash data recorder proved that Burns’ Explorer exceeded 60 miles per hour before crashing into the Toyota. The posted speed in the school zone is 15 miles per hour.
The Camry spun, slammed into a tree and all three backseat passengers were killed. Both Susanna Ha, 42, and her 10-year-old daughter, Angelica Ung, died hours after the crash at a nearby hospital and Ha’s 8-year-old daughter, Michelle Ung, died three days later.
Burns claimed she was not speeding and that the other driver had crossed the double yellow line, but video of the accident proved otherwise. She told police that she was not driving in excess of 40 miles per hour and had been looking for a parking spot after dropping her children off at a basketball game. She added that she was nervous after seeing the Toyota come into her lane and swerved and hit the back of the vehicle.
“This was a senseless tragedy that did not have to happen,” the DA said. “The defendant caused a horrific crash that took the lives of a mother and her two young children. A vehicle is not a toy and should be driven with the greatest of care at all times. But this defendant barreled down a street at an excessive rate of speed, mindless of the 15 miles per hour posted speed limit in the school zone. She drove recklessly and veered into on-coming traffic. The defendant’s actions caused immeasurable agony to the victims’ family.”
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, email@example.com or @JonathanSCronin.