Wrong-way driver was drunk, high at time of fiery crash
Updated: 9:39 PM EST Dec 30, 2016
By Anna Burgess/Brockton Enterprise
MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. —
The woman responsible for an October car crash that killed her and four others was drunk, high and speeding at the time of the crash, police have determined.
Fall River resident Valantein Burson was driving home from a party with a blood alcohol level of .16 and marijuana in her system when she sped down Route 495 the wrong way and crashed into a Mercury Sable, causing it to burst into flame.
The Oct. 24 crash, which occurred just after midnight on Route 495 in Middleboro, killed Burson, who was 31, and all four college students who had been in the Mercury, the Brockton Enterprise reported.
The students were later identified as 20-year-old Kraig Diggs, of Osterville; 19-year-old Jordan Galvin-Jutras, of Hyannis; 19-year-old Jordan Fisher, of Harwich; and 18-year-old Cory Licata, of New York.
Diggs and Galvin-Jutras had been students at Anna Maria College, while Fisher and Licata had been students at Becker College.
Burson was a Stoughton native and graduate of Stoughton High School.
According to a Friday press release from the office of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, Burson's postmortem toxicology report showed she had a blood alcohol level of .16 and marijuana in her system.
Crash reconstruction showed Burson had been traveling about 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash, with her headlights off.
The State Police investigation revealed Burson had been at a party in New Bedford earlier in the night.
She was smoking and drinking at the party, witnesses told police.
Burson left the party alone, planning to meet someone at her Fall River apartment, but never arrived home.
A few minutes before the crash, witnesses reported seeing Burson make a three-point turn on the northbound side of the highway, driving south and hitting several cars before crashing head-on into the Mercury.
Reconstruction of the crash revealed that Burson's headlights were off at the time of the crash, and there were no tire marks or evidence of braking left by either vehicle prior to impact.
The speedometer of Burson's car was stuck at approximately 90 mph.
Massachusetts State Police concluded their investigation into the crash this week.
The crash was investigated by Massachusetts State Police troopers assigned to Troop D in Middleboro, in conjunction with state police detectives assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and State Police Crime Scene Services.