Burger Appealing Costco Crash Convictions

Ruth Burger arrives at the London court house with her lawyer, Ron Ellis. Monday, June 1, 2015. Photo by Ashton Patis

One month after receiving a suspended sentence in the deadly 2014 Costco crash, the woman convicted in the tragedy is filing for appeal.

Ruth Burger, 66, is asking the Ontario Court of Appeal to overturn her convictions and acquit her of all four charges or order a new trial.

Burger was convicted in July of two counts of dangerous driving causing death and two of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Evidence presented at trial showed Burger’s car accelerated from 11km/h to 46km/h in the five seconds leading up to the July 25, 2014 crash at the south London Costco. Her car reversed 60m, between cement bollards and through the doors of the store, hitting 6-year-old Addison Hall, 3-year-old Miah Bozek, and Danah McKinnon-Bozek , who was 8 months pregnant.

Addison was pronounced dead in hospital. McKinnon-Bozek had an emergency c-section. Her newborn baby, Rihannon McKinnon-Bozek, died a week later.

Burger, a retired Western University administrator, testified that her foot had become stuck under the pedal while backing out of her parking space. Justice Jonathan George rejected the claim.

In October, Burger was sentenced to three years probation, 240 hours of community service, and was banned from driving for five years.

Just three weeks after that sentencing, a notice of appeal was filed by Toronto law firm Presser Barristers.

The grounds listed for appeal include claims that the judge erred in rejecting Burger’s evidence “on the basis of speculative conclusions made in the absence of evidence”. It also claims the judge focused on the consequences rather than the driving “when assessing dangerousness,” and the judge erred by convicting Burger of dangerous driving “in the absence of requisite fault requirement.”