June 15, 2017 By Christian Murray
A 48-year-old Jackson Heights woman was sentenced to 12 to 22 years in prison today after being convicted of manslaughter last month for a deadly car crash that killed a mother and her two pre-teen daughters.
Deborah Burns, of 76th Street, was found guilty after testimony revealed that she had driven recklessly through a 25 mph school zone in Bayside causing the fatal crash. She was convicted of three counts of second-degree manslaughter by a jury after an 8-day trial.
“This was a senseless tragedy that did not have to happen,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown. “The defendant caused a horrific crash that took the lives of a mother and her two young children. The defendant’s actions caused immeasurable agony to the victims’ family. She has now been sentenced to a lengthy term of incarceration.”
Burns, according to court testimony, drove her 2006 Ford Explorer at speed northbound on 210th Street on July 1, 2015, and crossed the double yellow line veering into oncoming traffic.
Burns’ vehicle struck a 2005 Toyota Camry, which spun out of control and thumped into a tree.
The Camry was driven by 75-year-old Young Ju Ha. All three passengers in the back seat of the vehicle, which consisted of Susanna Ha and her two daughters, were killed. The passenger in the front seat was severely injured as was the driver.
Investigators conducted an analysis of the Explorer’s crash data recorder, which indicated that Burns was traveling in excess of 60 mph—in a 25 mph zone– just moments before the crash.
Burns told police that she was driving at 40 mph and that it was Ha who crossed the double yellow line.
However, video surveillance of the collision showed Burns driving at an unsafe speed and on the wrong side of the road.