Man accused in deadly crash now faces murder charges
RUTLAND, Vt. -
Business is starting to
return to normal at Rutland Discount Food on Cleveland Avenue in Rutland.
"A lot of people for
a longtime couldn't even come in," said Pam Sokol of Rutland Discount
Food. It's been four months since 17-year-old Carly Ferro was killed as she
left work. The Rutland High School senior was getting into her father's car
when an out of control vehicle struck it, pinning her between her father's car
and the building.
"It was useless, a
very useless act. It should have never have been," Sokol said.
Police say the accident
happened because Alex Spanos, 24, was huffing chemicals as he was joyriding
around the city. He was originally charged with manslaughter, but now
prosecutors are calling it second-degree murder. Spanos pleaded not guilty in
"We amended the
charges as new evidence developed," Rutland County Prosecutor Marc Brierre
According to new court
papers, one of the two passengers in Spanos' car said Spanos was so high from
huffing, that he accidentally turned left onto Cleveland Avenue instead of
turning right to go to his brother's house as planned. That passenger went on
to tell police that once they were on Cleveland Avenue, Spanos passed out at
the wheel with the huffing container in his hand and pushed the gas pedal to
the floor as it veered toward the discount food center.
"I certainly think
we'll see more prosecutors looking very carefully at the homicide statutes to
see, for example, whether they can prove second-degree murder," former
prosecutor Jerry O'Neill said.
Spanos is the second
person in Vermont to be charged with murder for a fatal crash. Last year,
Timothy Dowd was convicted of second-degree murder for a fatal drunk driving
crash in Burlington. O'Neill says the Dowd case set a new precedent in the
state, but proving crashes like this are murder will still be a difficult task.
"Any case where you
are taking a step up like this, it's always more difficult. This isn't what the
statute was designed for specifically. It may fit, but certainly you are going
to have to show the intent. Intent is the significant piece that makes the
distinctions as it relates to degrees of homicide," O'Neill said.
Spanos was originally
looking at a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison. A murder
conviction could mean Spanos spends 20 years to life in prison. Former
co-workers say it is "closer to justice."
Sokol said, "It won't
bring her back; she is gone."