"I am outraged that he is getting off," Jennifer Traynor said.
Traynor is one of many Rutland community members in a full courtroom to see the arraignment of Christopher Sullivan. Sullivan pleaded innocent to both felony counts from a fatal hit-and-run.
On April 10, Mary Jane Outslay, 71, was struck and killed by a vehicle as she crossed Strongs Ave. in downtown Rutland. The car fled the scene. Seventeen hours later, former Rutland city attorney Christopher Sullivan admitted to police that he was driving the vehicle. The investigation went on for three weeks with no arrest.
"I can assure you this defendant has not received any special treatment by virtue of his profession. This is a complicated and lengthy investigation," Vt. Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire said.
Court papers say on the evening of the crash, Sullivan had gone to Center Street Saloon and drank several glasses of wine. He then went to a friend's house for a cookout, where Sullivan admits to having a few beers. A chemist at Vermont State Forensics lab estimates at the time of the accident, Sullivan's blood alcohol content was in the range of .079-- just under the legal limit of .08-- to nearly twice that, at .147.
Sullivan was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crime, both with death resulting. After pleading not guilty, he was released on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond and is free to go home to his family. A decision that is not sitting well with some in the community.
"Everybody feels like I do," Traynor said, crying. "He is getting off because of who he is. And he will probably only do half the sentence if he does anything."
The state's attorney says his bail conditions are based on risk of flight and Maguire says there was no evidence suggesting he would skip town. Sullivan's release comes with restrictions, but driving isn't one of them. His license has not been suspended.
There was some speculation about whether or not Sullivan's son was in the car, who he was supposed to be picking up from work. The newly release court papers state after the accident, Sullivan did not pick his son up and the boy walked home.
Sullivan is scheduled to appear again in court June 10, and until that date, the investigation will continue.