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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 29, 2011

Test results to shed light on accident that killed three

By Saranac Hale Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — The quantitative analysis of the chemicals in Luann Burgess’s blood is finished, according to acting Sheriff Craig Apple, but he hasn’t yet been able to decipher the figures.

Apple expects to meet with experts from the District Attorney’s office to figure out what the results mean regarding Burgess’s ability to drive on the morning that she went off of Mountainview Street in her Toyota Highlander, killing three women gathered in front of St. Matthew’s Church.

An initial toxicology report showed that Burgess, 55, had Wellbutrin, Xanax, and quetiapine in her system.  The drugs were used to treat her Parkinson’s disease, he said.  The most recent analysis will show how much of each drug was in her system.  Parkinson’s is degenerative disorder marked by early symptoms of shaking, rigidity, and difficulty moving.  Most people are able to drive during the first stages of the disease if they are taking medications to control their symptoms, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission.

“I know a lot of people want to see a charge, but the law’s the law,” Apple said of charging Burgess for the Aug. 10 accident.  The decision will be made collaboratively between the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office, Apple said — they will see where the law fits in to the accident.

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