Connecticut officer free until Vegas trial in fatal DUI case
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Connecticut police officer who faces a felony charge of driving under the influence in a Las Vegas crash that killed a colleague was freed from jail Thursday and can return home to await a preliminary hearing of evidence in the case.
Robert Ferraro, 34, of East Haven, Connecticut, won’t have to serve house arrest after posting $100,000 bail, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum decided. Ferraro is prohibited from driving, will be subject to alcohol monitoring, and has to surrender his passport, Baucum said.
Ferraro had been held since his arrest following the Sept. 17 crash of a rented Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV that killed Joshua Castellano, a fellow New Haven police officer. Two other New Haven police colleagues and two women from Texas were in the vehicle but escaped serious injury.
Ferraro’s attorney, Gabriel Grasso, said the officers were vacationing together and that Ferraro is on administrative leave from the New Haven Police Department.
Grasso said Ferraro and Castellano were friends since high school, attended police academy together and had been partners on patrol.
“This was a situation where no one intended for anyone to get hurt,” the attorney said. “My client is devastated by losing someone he considers a brother to him.”
The judge scheduled an Oct. 7 status check of the case. Grasso said Ferraro is due to return for a Jan. 27 preliminary hearing on charges of reckless driving and DUI resulting in death, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Ferraro will plead not guilty, Grasso said.
Las Vegas police said evidence at the scene, witness accounts and surveillance video showed that Ferraro was driving when the Rolls-Royce sped through an intersection, swerved out of control and crashed into a Ford Mustang, utility poles, landscaping and a fire hydrant several blocks west of the Las Vegas Strip.
Castellano was thrown from the front passenger seat as the Rolls-Royce rolled over and came to rest on its wheels, police said. The driver of the Mustang received minor injuries.