Driver in fatal accident due in court next week

James Dorso II pleaded not guilty recently to manslaughter charges in connection with a winter motor vehicle accident that killed two people. He is scheduled to appear in court again June 18.

Dorso, 31, has been charged with manslaughter and reckless driving for the Feb. 11 accident in Devon.

The accident occurred  at 11:19 a.m. at a time when heavy snow covered city streets and sidewalks. Dorso’s Ford Explorer struck four people walking on Bridgeport Avenue near Cowles Street, and two of them later died: Kevin Tanski, 53, and his wife, Brenda Tanski, 51.

The couple’s children, Jenny Tanski, 21, and Courtney Tanski, 14, 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 towards 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.