In a terrible accident, a 55-year-old upstate woman lost control of her SUV this morning, possibly because of an errant flip-flop, and struck and killed three old women in a walking group before finally crashing into a church, according to police. The driver, Luann Burgess, had just dropped off a foster child at a summer school program around 8:30 a.m. when her 2007 Toyota Highlander began accelerating wildly.
Law enforcement officials in the quiet town of Voorheesville described the accident as "horrific" and "gruesome." It is unclear if the driver, who was taken to the hospital but is fine, will be charged but the DA is looking into it. According to Craig Apple of the Albany County Sheriff's Office, one of her shoes had become stuck under the gas pedal. When Burgess tried to reach down to get it unstuck the "SUV accelerated, crossed the sidewalk and careened into the group of adults. The women who were hit had stopped to use a church restroom." After hitting the women, the SUV then "continued 70 or 80 feet, dragging two bodies as it ran under a covered church entryway, smashed iron railings and crashed into the brick wall of the bell tower."
The three victims were 76-year-old Carol Lansing, 79-year-old Rosemarie Hume, and 81-year-old Fran Pallozzi. At the time of the crash mass was being held in the church, but nobody else was hurt. According to the AP "Hours after the accident, the victims' six sneakers lay under a bush where a floppy hat hung from a branch."