Decision on charges expected next week in Rutland hit and runBy Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | April 26,2013A police investigation into a fatal hit-and-run crash in Rutland could be completed today, but a decision on criminal charges won’t be made until next week, an assistant attorney general in charge of the case said Thursday.
Fifteen days after 71-year-old Jane Outslay was killed and two weeks after Rutland City’s former legal counsel Christopher Sullivan identified himself as the driver in the crash, Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire said police and prosecutors are close to a decision.
“We’re making progress and expect to wrap things up late this week or early next week,” Maguire said. “We’ll be in a position to make a decision on final charging next week.”
Earlier this week, Rutland City and Vermont State Police closed off part of Strongs Avenue to conduct a crash reconstruction on the spot where Outslay was struck while crossing the street on the night of April 11. Maguire couldn’t say whether the analysis of data collected from the crash reconstruction was the final piece of the police investigation and she declined to talk about any other elements of the case.
The case has been closely watched by city residents, many of whom have been calling for Sullivan’s arrest since city police announced April 12 that the 53-year-old attorney had identified himself as the driver in the crash and had surrendered his heavily damaged 2004 Lexus sedan to police.
Amy Holloway, director of victim services for the Vermont Department of Corrections, said she’s familiar with the impatience expressed in Rutland. She hears the same frustrations vented all the time by the crime victims she works with.
“In general, it takes longer than victims think to conduct these investigations because on television it only takes about an hour to wrap up a case and it seems like the offender has more rights than the victim,” she said.
She compared the process victims go through — coming to grips with the investigatory and courtroom processes — to religious indoctrination.
“It’s like learning a religion,” Holloway said. “You have to learn all the rituals and you have to keep believing in it because at the end of the day no amount of jail is going to replace a loved one who’s lost.”
While many in the community have been impatient for criminal charges, Outslay’s family has said they were focusing on laying her to rest.
Thursday, her youngest son, Gregor Outslay, said the family was still waiting but was looking forward to a decision in the case.
“At this point we’re still being patient because there is no alternative,” he said. “The police continue to be forthcoming with information but unfortunately we have no control over the situation. We just need to stay as positive as possible.”
One development that he said has bolstered the family’s spirits was the donation of his mothers organs, which he said promised new life and hope for someone else.
“Even in death she was able to help and heal people,” he said of his mother who worked for decades as a nurse.
In the weeks since the crash, Gregor Outslay said members of the family had received many condolences and offers to help from residents who visited the family’s restaurant on Woodstock Avenue.
“Everyone has been very respectful and courteous,” he said.
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