Woman changes plea, admits role in crash that killed 5-year-old

Credit: Ada County Jail

Helen Burgess has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and aggravated DUI.

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by KTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 27 at 11:48 PM

BOISE -- A 43-year-old Star woman set to go on trial next month for her role in a crash last June that killed a 5-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and aggravated DUI.

Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu says Helen Burgess entered the guilty pleas on Jan. 30.

Investigators say Burgess was under the influence of several different prescription drugs when her Ford Explorer slammed into the back of a Dodge Caravan on the morning of June 16, 2012, at the intersection of Highway 44 and Highway 16. Inside the van was the Strauss family from Star.

Five-year-old Alvin Strauss died from injuries he suffered in the crash at a Boise hospital.

Police say Burgess was traveling at highway speed when she struck the van that was stopped at a red light.

Akamatsu says Burgess was charged for Alvin’s death and with aggravated DUI for injuries to his 7-year-old sister.

No charges were dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas.

Burgess remains in the Ada County Jail on $250,000.

Sentencing is set at 9 a.m. on April 2 before Fourth District Judge Richard Greenwood.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

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