Courtesy of the Ferro family
By Cristina Kumka
RUTLAND — Tears, gasps and whispers were silenced when Alex Spanos spoke in a Rutland criminal courtroom Tuesday morning, for the first time since being the driver behind the wheel of a car that killed Rutland High School golf protégé Carly Ferro in the fall of 2012.
Many in the packed courtroom waited breathlessly to hear him speak, following more than an hour of the prosecution repeating that Spanos never once admitted his guilt in the death of the teen or showed any signs of remorse.
Earlier, Spanos’ father and mother spoke of a once-athletic boy who lost direction, but could be saved, if given a shorter sentence than what was being asked by the state — 20 to 45 years in prison.
Spanos, reading from a prepared statement, said he apologized for killing the 17-year-old girl after crushing her against a wall as she was walking out of work at Rutland’s Discount Food Store.
At the time, Spanos lived one block away from the store with his brother.
He said he was sorry to her family and his.
But Spanos reiterated that he didn’t remember huffing Dust-Off from an aerosol can before passing out behind the wheel, hitting Ron Ferro’s car as he waited for his daughter to leave work.
Ferro’s car then instantaneously struck Carly as she walked toward the car’s passenger door, pinning her to the brick wall of the store. Ron Ferro had to be extracted from the crushed car and was seriously injured.
Ferro said in court he didn’t remember much from that day, but he did remember that the dent made in the side of his car was from his daughter.
Spanos was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and three other related counts following a trial.
On Tuesday, June 16, Spanos was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in jail, with a maximum of 20 years. He has been in jail since the crash in 2012. His parents told the judge he never once asked to be bailed out.
Judge Theresa DiMauro said she considered the gravity of the crime, Spanos’ criminal history but also the fact that it wasn’t proven he intended to kill Carly and hurt others.
In a case where the juxtaposition of Spanos and Ferro’s lives couldn’t be more clear, the Rutland community came together in a fight against drugs — to help those addicted and those effected by addiction. A pioneering police chief was hired and called the case the city’s “tipping point.” A methadone clinic was established within the city’s limits. Senators and local leaders brought the latest drug surge to light. A nationally-recognized grassroots, anti-drug movement called Project Vision was started in the city following Carly’s death.
Ron Ferro and Ellen Miller, Carly’s dad and mom, paid tribute to their daughter by describing who she was – a bright, vibrant, smart and overall good person with an exciting future ahead — one filled with doing the right thing and staying away from the bad.
Ellen said Carly’s memory would be best served by being “kinder than necessary,” although she told the judge it was hard to do that that day.
After the judge announced the sentence, Rich Ferro, Carly’s uncle, said quietly, “There are no winners in this.”
Cristina Kumka is a freelance reporter for The Mountain Times, firstname.lastname@example.org.