WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A display reading “#JusticeForOlivia” was set up Friday morning outside Kent County Superior Court where two people faced a judge on charges related to a deadly crash.
Aramis Segura and Alicia Peckham were indicted late last month in connection with the Jan. 1 crash on I-95 in Warwick that claimed the life of 17-year-old Olivia Passaretti of East Greenwich.
Police say Segura was responsible for causing the crash, while Peckham helped him evade police after he fled the scene.
Segura, 30, was arraigned Friday on felony counts of driving to endanger resulting in death and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty on all counts and the judge maintained the $250,000 surety bail that was set in district court. Segura has been held behind bars as a bail violator since his arrest.
“The top count of this indictment charges a vehicular homicide that would break the heart of God … and it did,” John Corrigan with the R.I. Attorney General’s Office said.
The state filed a notice to prosecute Segura as a habitual offender, which would enhance the penalties against him if he’s convicted.
Story continues below video.
Peckham, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death as an aider and abettor, harboring a criminal, misprision of a felony, and obstructing an officer in execution of their duty.
“If she’s willing to do that on the outside, there is a chance that she might not appear at required dates, so I’m asking that the reasonable surety bail within the guidelines be imposed,” Corrigan told the judge.
Peckham’s lawyer, Mary Ciresi, argued that her client should be granted $20,000 personal recognizance instead of surety bail.
She argued most of Peckham’s family lives in the state and that she’s “gainfully employed” as a direct support professional with an agency that provides care to people with intellectual and developmental challenges.
Peckham also has a second job caring for a patient with cerebral palsy, Ciresi noted.
“My client has been aware that this matter has been under investigation, she was aware that an indictment was issued, and in fact, she received notice through the mail to come here and appear, and she has appeared, so surety bail is not required to assure her presence before the court,” Ciresi said.
Ciresi also said Peckham is a few courses shy of earning an associate’s degree online.
“In terms of dangerousness to the community, she has not committed any crimes since she’s been out and she’s not a danger,” Ciresi added. “She doesn’t sit idly by at home. She is working and going to school. Finally, judge, her conduct did not contribute to the death of the victim.”
A judge said the state’s request was reasonable and set Peckham’s bail was at $20,000 with surety.
Ciresi told 12 News Peckham was released and “is eager for her day in court.” She confirmed Peckham was previously in a relationship with Segura, but is not any longer.
“She is presumed innocent, and an indictment doesn’t change that,” Ciresi told 12 News over the phone.
Angela Lawless, who represents Segura, issued a statement to 12 News ahead of his arraignment Friday.
“We sympathize with the family, friends and communities of Ms. Passaretti for their tragic loss, but due to the pendency of this criminal matter, we are unable to comment further at this time,” Lawless stated.
Both Segura and Peckham are due back in court Aug. 22.
Story continues below video.
Police said Segura was driving on I-95 South in Warwick around 1 a.m. when he hit the back of Passaretti’s car, forcing it off the highway. He fled after the crash and was later arrested at his home in Charlestown.
Segura admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana prior to the crash, according to police.
Investigators allege Peckham helped Segura escape and hid him at their home prior to his arrest.
Dozens of people gathered outside the courthouse in support of Passaretti and her family, including the family of Matt Dennison, who died after a crash with an alleged drunk driver back in March.
“If you look around, the whole community has been affected by what happened, and how could you not be touched by this?” asked Passaretti’s stepfather, Dennis Molloy. “A 17-year-old innocent girl driving home … if you don’t feel from this, you have no feelings.”
Story continues below video.
Molloy told reporters Friday’s court hearing went as expected, adding that it was satisfying to see Peckham now also facing charges in Passaretti’s death.
“Up until today, we feel like she’s just been getting off with everything,” Molloy said.
Molloy also said he was pleased the state filed a habitual offender notice, which means Segura could face decades behind bars if he were to receive the maximum sentence.
“I feel like as a family, we can exhale a little bit, because it will be a year, probably until his trial, and I know we’ve all been fighting really hard for the last six months,” Molloy added.
Olivia’s mother, Janine Passaretti-Molloy, said Segura looked her right in the eyes as he walked into the courtroom.
“There is absolutely zero remorse,” Passaretti-Molloy said.
“He did not care about my child. he did not care about anybody,” the mother added.
Passaretti’s sisters, Jacquelline and Victoria, were also in attendance Friday.
“Today we looked evil straight in the face, and we looked at the person that was responsible for taking the life of a beautiful girl away,” Jacquelline said.
“He was on the scene and left… left her there to die,” Victoria Passaretti said.
“Doesn’t bring Olivia back, doesn’t change the heartache, but I am leaving here feeling satisfied with the way that everything went today,” Jacquelline added.