AMSTERDAM - Christine Rossi was a born-again Christian and had battled to overcome severe health problems, including cancer, her husband Gene Rossi recalled to The Daily Gazette.
The 64-year-old Amsterdam resident also worked to deliver newspapers for The Daily Gazette and Amsterdam Recorder, a job she did with her husband, and had done so for about the past five years. The husband and wife would typically split more than 700 newspapers each morning.
Early Saturday morning, police say, Christine Rossi was out delivering papers in the 200 block of Brookside Avenue, when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver, a driver police identified as Ronald E. Carpenter, 42, of Amsterdam.
Gene Rossi was on Amsterdam's Locust Avenue with his stepson Matthew Hollister when his wife was struck. He learned about what happened when police called.
"What this man did, he took away two young men's mother. He took away my wife," Gene Rossi told The Gazette later Saturday.
"We went through so much, and for her to go the way she went, because of someone else's careless, selfish, stupid act, is just unbelievable to me," Gene Rossi said at another point. "I don't know what I'm going to do right now. My stepsons, they don't know what they're going to do."
Now charged in her death is Carpenter. Carpenter was arrested and faces one count each of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, a felony, and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.
Ronald E. Carpenter (Amsterdam Police Department)
Officers arrived at the scene just after the 1:10 a.m. call to find Christine Rossi had been struck. She was outside her vehicle when she was hit, police said. She died at the scene. The investigation showed that Carpenter also hit Rossi's vehicle and another vehicle, police said.
Police determined Carpenter was intoxicated and took him into custody at the scene, police said.
Carpenter was arraigned in Amsterdam City Court in front of Judge Lisa W. Lorman and ordered held on $25,000 bail.
John DeAugustine, publisher and president of The Daily Gazette, issued a statement about the accident Saturday: "Our hearts go out to Chris and her family. This is absolutely tragic, and we’re still trying to understand what happened, but our primary focus is keeping all of our carriers safe."
Gazette Vice President of Audience Brian Zarelli, who is in charge of circulation, said he's worked for the paper for the last 14 years and he's not aware of any other incidents in which a newspaper carrier working for the Gazette was struck by a vehicle.
Zarelli said Christine Rossi worked for the Amsterdam Recorder several years ago and then started working for The Daily Gazette when it began delivering both newspapers.
"Her managers at the Recorder spoke very highly of her," he said.
He said he believes that between the two publications, she had worked as a newspaper carrier for about the last five years.
"She was one of our best carriers out there, one of our most dependable, hard working, always willing to help out, take on extra work," he said.