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Police: Drunk driver in fatal Amsterdam crash twice legal limit; Newspaper carrier killed

Police: Drunk driver in fatal Amsterdam crash twice legal limit; Newspaper carrier killed

Family finalized funeral arrangements Monday
Police: Drunk driver in fatal Amsterdam crash twice legal limit; Newspaper carrier killed
Brookside Avenue Monday
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

AMSTERDAM -- The man accused of driving drunk early Saturday morning and striking and killing a newspaper delivery woman had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit, according to allegations filed in court.

Family members of the woman killed, 64-year-old Amsterdam resident Christine Rossi, meanwhile, continued Monday to mourn  their loved one while planning her services, expected to be Friday in Amsterdam.

"She was very active in church and never said no to anybody that needed anything done," her husband of 19 years, Gene Rossi, said Monday after finalizing his wife's funeral arrangements. "She loved her sons and I know she loved me."

The man accused of causing Christine Rossi's death, Amsterdam resident Ronald E. Carpenter, 42, is due back in court Tuesday morning, court officials said.

He faces multiple charges, including second-degree vehicular manslaughter, a felony, and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

His blood alcohol content tested afterward at 0.17 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to police allegations in court.

Carpenter's "last drinking location" is listed in paperwork as a friend's house. He was allegedly returning home to his Brookside Avenue residence at the time of the 1:10 a.m. crash on Brookside Avenue; he was nearly home, Montgomery County District Attorney Kelli McCoski said.

Carpenter admitted to being drunk at the scene, McCoski said. Police said he also struck Rossi's car and a second car. 

Carpenter was arraigned over the weekend and ordered held on $25,000 bail. 

Christine Rossi was born in Cooperstown, grew up in Fonda and later moved to Amsterdam, her husband said. She had two adult sons, Greg and Matthew.

Services for Christine have been scheduled for Friday morning at Calvary Assembly of God Church on East Main Street in Amsterdam, the church the couple had attended for years, Gene Rossi said.

Viewing is scheduled for 10:30 and the service at 11:30.

Rossi remembered his wife as a woman who loved her family and her faith.

Gene and Christine met nearly 30 years ago at the printing job where they both worked. Gene recalled moving to the day shift and being taken with her that first day.

"She was just a sweet, sweet person,"  Rossi said.

They were together in all the years that followed, including in their most recent endeavor, delivering newspapers for The Daily Gazette and Amsterdam Recorder. They married in 2000.

They were out together early Saturday, though apart. They split the deliveries and Gene Rossi was on Amsterdam's Locust Avenue with his stepson Matthew Hollister at the time his wife was struck.

His wife was a born again Christian, as is Gene, he said, and they lived their faith together.

"She just had a heart for people," Rossi said. "She would lay her hands on you and pray for you at the drop of a hat."

She survived two bouts with cancer, in 2005 and 2008. She underwent surgery both times and had been cancer free since 2008. 

After her first surgery in 2005, her husband recalled marveling at his wife, hours afterward, sitting up, reading her Bible and humming hymns.

"That was my wife," Rossi said, "her in a nutshell." 

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