By Patrick Markey
A Brooklyn judge last week rejected a motion to dismiss the indictment filed against Anne Lamberson, the Derry-born ambulance driver facing manslaughter charges in the deaths of three children killed in a car crash last year.
Lamberson’s attorney, Michael Dowd, had filed the motion to throw out the charges in December. But in a written reply on Thursday, Brooklyn State Supreme Court judge Neil J. Firetog ruled that the prosecution had a legally sufficient case for Lamberson’s indictment on second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
On Thursday, outside Courtroom 525, a tearful Lamberson said she was still trying to cope with the trauma of the accident. The day before her court appearance she had marked the fourth year since her own child had died of a fatal disease.
"I was denied. I am not a criminal," she said of the judge’s decision.
"I feel terrible that three children perished in that crash. I was at the cemetery yesterday praying for them and my son," she said.
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Once an autopsy and crash reconstruction reports are handed over to the court, a date will be set for the trial to begin, according to Deputy District Attorney Joe Petrosino, who is prosecuting the case. That would most likely be in April, Petrosino said.
Lamberson was indicted last October after the private ambulance she was driving smashed into a car at an intersection in Brooklyn. Three of Angela Igwe’s children were killed in the collision. Igwe and another of her children were seriously injured.
Soon after her arrest, Lamberson claimed she was an emergency call with her lights and sirens on when she passed through a red light at the intersection on King’s Highway. Emergency vehicles are permitted to pass through red lights or stop signs while on priority calls as long as they exercise proper caution. But prosecutors charge the evidence shows Lamberson acted recklessly enough to warrant manslaughter charges.
However, Lamberson’s defense attorneys say questions still hover over the indictment.
Dowd said he would possibly question why Igwe had no driver’s license. Other drivers clearly heard the sirens from Lamberson’s ambulance and did not pass into the intersection, so why did Igwe? Dowd asked. Dowd also questioned why his client had been charged when other drivers involved in emergency call crashes were not. There was a disparity of treatment, he said.
"This was a terrible tragedy. But to lay this at my client’s doorstep in the context of this case is outrageous," he said.