You are reading

Jackson Heights Woman Charged With Manslaughter After Car Crash Near School


Dec. 10, 2015 Staff Report

A Jackson Heights woman has been charged with manslaughter after a car crash in Bayside that killed a mother and her two daughters.

She faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

The fatal collision occurred on 210th Street in Bayside, the same block as a middle school, on July 1 at 6 p.m. According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Deborah Burns crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic and struck the rear, left side of a Toyota Camry, killing everyone in the back seat. The Camry, which contained a family of five, spun out of control and struck a tree.

Burns was driving at 60 mph, according to the vehicle’s black box, which recorded her speed four seconds prior to the crash. The speed limit here was 25 miles per hour, due to the school.

Susanna Ha, 42, and her 10-year-old daughter Angelica Ung, both died within hours of the crash at a nearby hospital. Ha’s eight-year-old daughter Michelle Ung died three days later. Susanna Ha’s father, 74-year-old Young Ju Ha, who was driving the Camry, and her mother, Chung Ock Ha, 67, who was in the front passenger seat, were both severely injured, according to Brown.

“This is another example of how deadly motor vehicles can be and the consequences of climbing behind the wheel of a car and engaging in reckless behavior,” Brown said. “The defendant is now facing a long prison sentence, if convicted.”

Burns is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, where she is charged with three counts each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, two counts of second-degree assault and reckless driving.

Burns allegedly told the police that she was circling the block to find parking after dropping her children off at a basketball game. She claimed she crossed the yellow line because another driver had done so and made her nervous, but video surveillance allegedly contradicts this story. A toxicology report on the defendant’s blood, taken four hours after the crash, also allegedly showed metabolites of cocaine in her system.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Met Council leader warns of ‘catastrophe’ for low-income families in Queens due to lack of pandemic-era federal food aid

Mar. 28, 2023 By Bill Parry

As an accomplished legislator, law professor and media personality with broad experience in government and not-for-profit organizations, Met Council CEO and executive director David Greenfield is well aware of the power of words. With Passover arriving on Wednesday, April 5, and with federal pandemic food assistance no longer available to low-income families in Queens, the leader of the nation’s largest Jewish charity organization warned of a coming “catastrophe” and called for the city to step up to provide $13 million in emergency funding for pantries to help New Yorkers facing food insecurity and elevated costs of living in the borough.

Pair of Queens community organizations will activate public spaces to celebrate local cultures

Two Queens community organizations are among an inaugural cohort of five groups citywide that will lead new projects to celebrate local cultures and histories in public spaces under a new initiative called The Local Center in a partnership between Urban Design Forum and the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD).

At a time when New York is grappling with an uneven pandemic recovery and as displacement looms large for communities and neighborhoods across the five boroughs, this new endeavor will convene interdisciplinary teams to transform and activate the shared spaces where cultural traditions flourish — and importantly, center the community visions and leadership that is too often left out of the process.