City officials in Rutland say many local residents are still reeling from last week’s car crash that killed 17-year old Carly Ferro and injured her father and several others. To help encourage healing, the city organized a community meeting tonight where mental health counselors will be able to talk with neighbors who live or work near the crash site.
Police Chief Jim Baker says many of the police officers that responded to the crash last week are still shaken up. But he says the department has systems in place to help those officers cope. Likewise, school counselors were quick to reach out to Carly Ferro’s high school classmates.
But Baker says many of the people who live and work in the northwest Rutland neighborhood where the crash took place don’t have those kinds of services, which is why he says Monday night’s meeting is important.
"This meeting tonight is not about what went right or what went wrong or how we ended up with this tragedy on our hands," says Baker. " This meeting tonight is more about having some mental health counselors available and provide that neighborhood with some services that will allow them to process their emotions."
Lynne Walsh, executive director of Rutland United Neighborhoods and the Community Justice Center, organized the meeting.
She says several counselors from Rutland Mental Health will participate. "I hope it helps I truly do," says Walsh. "What happened to that young woman on Cleveland Avenue is horrific; and it was senseless and there was no need for it. But the residents who actually saw that. The people who lived on Cleveland Avenue; the people who worked at that store; they’re hurting. And I think that’s part of the piece tonight to give community members a place to vent and to chat and to talk and to pull together and just gain strength from being in numbers."
Twenty-three-year old Alex Spanos has been charged with causing the crash and remains in jail in Rutland for lack of a $200,000 bond. According to police reports, witnesses allege that Spanos had been inhaling fumes from an aerosol can throughout the day as well as just moments before his car went out of control.