Woman tried to stop car that killed her
By Brent Curtis
It wasn’t until she was in the middle of the street that Jane Outslay saw the car that was barreling down on her and she turned to face it.
With her canes held above her head, the 71-year-old tried to get the attention of the driver, her friend Sharon Hughes told police.
But it was too late.
An instant later, the car hit the Mendon woman with what Hughes described as “brutal force.”
“Hughes said that she looked down the street ... and could only see the taillights of the car. She added that the vehicle never swerved, never applied the brakes and never stopped,” Detective Sgt. Abdelnour of the Vermont State
Police wrote in an affidavit filed in Rutland criminal court.
Abdelnour’s report became available Thursday, shortly before Christopher Sullivan of Rutland pleaded innocent to a pair of felony charges that accuse him of being the driver who killed Outslay on April 10.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Barry Griffith, and an unidentified man, Sullivan, 53, walked into a courtroom filled with members of state and city police officers. Absent from the proceeding was any member of Outslay’s family, who all chose to stay away.
“We don’t find it necessary,” Greg Outslay, Jane Outslay’s youngest son, said in a phone interview before the hearing. “It doesn’t do anything more for the memory of my mother.
Sullivan’s arraignment on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal crash and driving under the influence during a fatal crash — which have the potential to send him to jail for up to 30 years — began moments after he entered the courtroom Thursday.
Throughout the brief proceeding, Sullivan, who worked 19 years as a litigator for City Hall, kept his eyes trained on the front of the courtroom.
No bail was requested in the case — although Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire asked the court to impose a $10,000 unsecured bond which Sullivan did not need to pay to remain free.
Several conditions were also requested and imposed, including a prohibition against drinking or possessing alcohol and an order requiring Sullivan to submit to breath tests from police officers who will come to his home at random. He was also ordered to turn over his passport.
Sullivan quickly left the courtroom at the end of the hearing and he and Griffith declined to speak to reporters as they left the courthouse.
In a statement issued by Griffith on Wednesday night, hours after state prosecutors announced the charges being brought against Sullivan, the attorney wrote:
“Today I received a telephone call advising that the attorney general’s office plans to file criminal charges tomorrow against Christopher Sullivan. I accepted a citation agreeing that we would appear in court tomorrow to respond to the same. We were informed that the charges to be filed may include allegations of driving under the influence. To my knowledge, no one who was with Chris in the hours before this tragic accident believes he was intoxicated or impaired in any way that night. We have not yet been provided with a copy of the proposed charges, or the reports which the prosecution believes could support those charges. We will closely review those reports when received, and respond appropriately.”
Abdelnour’s affidavit appeared to support that view. Several people who were with Sullivan at a cookout on the night of April 10 told investigators they saw the former city attorney drink one beer at the gathering on Hazel Street in the city.
However, Sullivan told investigators he drank three glasses of wine at Center Street Saloon in downtown Rutland earlier on April 10, as well as three or four beers at the cookout, according to the affidavit.
Using Sullivan’s estimate of three glasses of wine and three beers, together with his weight and the time that had passed since he began drinking that night, investigators estimated that Sullivan’s blood-alcohol content ranged from .079 percent to .129 percent.
If he consumed four beers instead of three, the estimate range increased to .097 percent to .147 percent.
The legal limit to drive in Vermont is .08 percent.
Sullivan said he visited the bar at about 5:10 p.m. that day — a timeline corroborated by employees at the bar who told investigators that Sullivan and his law partner Paul Kulig drank three glasses of pinot noir during their time there. The pair left the bar sometime between 6:35 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., the bar’s staff told police.
Witnesses at the cookout on Hazel Street told police that Sullivan brought a 12-pack of beer with him to the gathering. The owner of the home and another witness told police that Sullivan was only seen drinking a single beer at the event.
At about 7:45 p.m., Sullivan said, he left the cookout to pick up his son, who was working at Hannaford’s supermarket off Route 7 in Rutland Town.
As he was driving on Strongs Avenue at about 8 p.m. that night, Sullivan allegedly told investigators, he heard a “thud.”
“He advised that it was raining and his windshield wipers were on,” Abdelnour wrote. “He stated he panicked, kept driving and was unsure what to do.”
Sullivan told police he drove his 2004 Lexus sedan to the Hannaford’s parking lot where he noticed damage to the hood and windshield of his car. The detective also said the impact from the crash dislodged the rear-view mirror from the windshield of his vehicle. Police later found a large hole in the passenger’s side of the car’s windshield, the detective wrote.
Sullivan then made a phone call to seek advice from Kulig, who told him an ambulance had arrived at the scene on Strongs Avenue and a person was taken to the hospital, the detective wrote.
After that conversation, Abdelnour wrote, “(Sullivan) believed at that point there was nothing he could do.”
Sullivan then drove home and parked his car behind his garage, where it stayed until the next day when he went to city police with Griffith. At 1 p.m. April 11, about 17 hours after the crash, Sullivan identified himself as the driver and surrendered his vehicle to investigators.
“Mr. Sullivan would advise that he did not feel he was impaired or intoxicated at the time of the incident,” Abdelnour wrote.