James Dorso II of Milford has been sentenced to 10 years in jail, suspended after three and a half years, in connection with a motor vehicle accident that killed two Milford residents last February.
Dorso, 33, was convicted of two counts of misconduct with a motor vehicle for the accident that killed Kevin Tanski, 53, and his wife, Brenda Tanski, 51.
Dorso was initially charged with two counts of manslaughter, but pled not guilty to those charges.
The accident occurred at 11:19 a.m. Feb. 11 at a time when heavy snow covered city streets and sidewalks following a blizzard. Dorso’s Ford Explorer struck four people walking on Bridgeport Avenue near Cowles Street, and two of them — Kevin and Brenda Tanski — later died from their injuries.
The couple’s children, Jenny Tanski, 21, and Courtney Tanski, 14 at the time, were taken to Bridgeport Hospital after the accident. Jenny suffered minor injuries and Courtney was not hurt.
The family had been walking to Dunkin’ Donuts. They couldn’t drive because their street hadn’t been plowed yet following the blizzard.
Dorso was also headed to Dunkin’ Donuts. Various witnesses say he moved to the right of the Chevy S10 in front of him and struck Kevin Tanski, throwing him into a snowbank. Then Brenda Tanski was hit and was thrown onto the roadway. Jenny Tanski was hit next and was knocked to the right side of the road. The youngest daughter was not hit.
Dorso told police his vehicle got caught in the slush, pulling him to the right toward the Tanskis. He said he tried unsuccessfully to counter-steer and brake.
Kevin died Feb. 13, and Brenda died Feb. 16.
Kevin and Brenda worked for the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, according to a VA Hospital website.
Comments posted about the couple shortly after the accident painted a picture of a loving couple dedicated to their family.
In their warrant seeking Dorso’s arrest, police detailed a list of motor vehicle violations and other run-ins with the law.
The report said that Dorso was himself the victim of a motor vehicle accident in 1998 in which he suffered a traumatic brain injury.
After being released from the hospital, “he was found to be prone to violence and was arrested in 1998 for domestic violence,” the report states. Several motor vehicle accidents in which police said he was at fault followed.
According to court documents, Dorso was sentenced Sept. 3 to two five-year terms in jail, to be served consecutively, suspended after 42 months, or three and a half years.
He will remain on probation for five years after his release, and will be required to undergo mental health evaluations and treatment, including taking medication if prescribed. The court also ordered him to attend multiple victim impact panels and to be treated for anger management if it is deemed necessary.
He will not be able to get a driver’s license again until the Department of Motor Vehicle’s medical division deems him fit to drive.