A Rutland man charged with second-degree murder for allegedly causing a fatal crash in the city last year is now being sued by a woman who was injured along with her children in the same incident.
The crash on Cleveland Avenue last year killed 17-year-old Carly Ferro, who police say died after a car driven by Alex W. Spanos slammed into a row of cars parked outside Rutland Discount Foods.
There were also people injured in the crash, including Ferro’s father, Ron Ferro, who was hospitalized for days.
Jessica Norton and her two young children were also in a vehicle parked outside the store. The car they were in was destroyed in the crash and all three were taken to the hospital on the night of Sept. 26. They were released hours later after receiving treatment.
According to a lawsuit made public this week in Rutland civil court, the medical bill and loss of the family’s car amounted to $2,393 in expenses.
But the family’s attorney, John Welch, wrote in the complaint that the family deserved much more for the physical and mental trauma inflicted on his clients. He asked the court to award damages of at least $100,000.
“The deplorable and egregious conduct of Mr. Spanos and the way in which he chose to operate a motor vehicle caused this horrible crash,” Welch said Thursday. “Something like this is completely beyond the pale of acceptable conduct.”
The 23-year-old’s alleged conduct has already been deemed bad enough by Rutland County prosecutors to warrant charging him with second-degree murder.
Spanos was initially charged with manslaughter but the charge was amended last month after his blood tests found traces of difluoroethane, a gas commonly used in electronic cleaning products that can be abused as a means to get high.
Two passengers in Spanos’ car also told police that he was “huffing” from an aerosol can to get high as he drove around the city — including a hit he allegedly took seconds before the fatal crash.
Spanos’ alleged huffing while driving was incorporated into Welch’s two-page lawsuit.
In a one-page response, Spanos, who filed an answer without an attorney, invoked his Fifth Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to remain silent due to the pending criminal charges.
Details of the harm visited on Norton and her children weren’t provided in the lawsuit and Welch said Thursday he was withholding some elements of the case for now.
He said the family was preparing to leave the parking lot when the crash occurred. He said there had been some counseling provided to the family members since the crash.
“I can’t go into it much but suffice it to say that they were jostled about and needless to say they were frightened as a result of Mr. Spanos’ actions,” he said.
The lawsuit filed by the Nortons is the first civil case to emerge from the crash.
While a private attorney has accompanied friends of the Ferro family to proceedings in criminal court, no lawsuit has been filed in civil court. A spokeswoman for the Ferro family said Thursday the family had no comment on the subject at this time.
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