New Canaan Teen Could Face Six Months If Convicted in Jogger Death

Connecticut, one of the national leaders in driver safety advocacy, is one of 31 states as well as Washington, D.C., that ban all cellphone use by new drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association


A 16 year old female , after police said that she was distracted by the use of a handheld cell phone which resulted in her hitting and .

The death of Kenneth Dorsey of Norwalk and the subsequent come as other states are considering measures to force both teenagers and adults to discontinue using cell phones and other electronic devices when operating a motor vehicle.

Mr. Dorsey, an experienced runner, was training for a marathon and out on a morning jog when he was fatally struck by a teen driver who was operating an SUV. The New Canaan teenage girl, whose identity is being withheld by the police police because of her age, was charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, using a handheld telephone under age 18 while driving and failure to drive in the proper lane.

This tragic accident is prompting renewed calls to remind people to discontinue distracted driving habits while operating their vehicles.

"We tried to convey just how this incident illustrates how dangerous it is to be distracted while driving a 3,500-pound vehicle 35 to 40 mph," Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said. "You need to focus all your attention on what you're doing. It only takes a second to swerve a few feet. Everybody should look at this and learn from it."

Connecticut, one of the national leaders in driver safety advocacy, is one of 31 states as well as Washington, D.C., that ban all cellphone use by new drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Additionally, 38 states prohibit texting while driving, with Ohio about to become the 39th state after a proposed ban that Gov. John Kasich has promised to sign this coming Tuesday. Under Ohio's new law, texting while driving would allow police to pull over a teen for texting while driving.

In 2009, almost 5,500 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving distracted driving and almost half a million people were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It has been reported that 16% of all accidents resulting in fatalities in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. Not surprisingly, teen drivers were more likely than those in other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distracted driving was an issue.

The teenage girl accused of killing Kenneth Dorsey could be sentenced up to six months in jail on the negligent homicide charge if convicted. The lesser charge of using a cell phone under age 18 while driving carries a 30-day license suspension and $175 in license restoration and court fees for a first offense, according to the state DMV.

Education is a large part of accident prevention. As a result of this accident, the New Canaan Police Department is offering a program on June 6 at 7p.m. in the high school to help further educate the public. The fatal accident involving the local girl was part of the impetus for the session, said Sgt. Carol Ogrinc, the department's youth officer. "But we've had accidents involving distracted driving in town and we felt something community-based would be helpful to offer.''

Despite the existing laws and ongoing education programs little comfort is provided to Leo Dorsey of Milford, Ken Dorsey's father. Mr. Dorsey will advocate for cell phones that will not work if a motor vehicle is moving to prevent the tragedies that have taken the lives of victim’s like his son.

William Seymour, a CT DMV spokesman said that some cell phone providers are studying ways to do just that, possibly by installing a chip in the phone. "I know that different companies are looking at ways to have the cell phone shut off when the engine comes on. We're attempting to
deal with this issue from the front door, the back door and the side doors,”
he said.

Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state.  A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: "The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims"; "The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut" and "The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents."  He has also co-authored the best selling book "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn't Want You to Know and Won't Tell You Until It's Too Late!" He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.

mary parker May 22, 2012 at 03:52 AM
I also think that as much as I respect the Police Department and think they do a great job and I am always defending them that the Police Officers should also obey the law. I see a lot of officer's driving around in police cars and are on their cell phones. And I do mean a lot of them. So how can they pull someone over for something they do all of the time? People see them doing it so why obey the laws when the Police don't even obey the laws.
Charlene May 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM
@mary Parker. The cell law and seat belt law doesn't apply to police. I asked a Darien cop, and he said they are exempt from the law. That they could be using their cell phones for official police matters. Nice, huh?
Tom May 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Sec. 14-296aa (b) (1) Specifically excludes the police and other emergency personnel - ...... (4) Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not apply to: (A) The use of a hand-held mobile telephone for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation: An emergency response operator; a hospital, physician's office or health clinic; an ambulance company; a fire department; or a police department, or (B) any of the following persons while in the performance of their official duties and within the scope of their employment: A peace officer, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 53a-3, a firefighter or an operator of an ambulance or authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, or a member of the armed forces of the United States, as defined in section 27-103, while operating a military vehicle, or (C) the use of a hands-free mobile telephone.
Glen K Dunbar May 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Chalene: Thanks for that. It is true. Police are exempt for most all laws. I guess I can see why in some cases. Still though about this case. I hope the poor Girl not get in too much trouble. Why did She have to be on cell phone??? 6 MINUTES???? With her MOTHER ???????????????????? ummmmm what for ???????? I never even bring my cell phone w/me if I am in car. I only take it when I am lucky enough to be on train w/my buddies. I really have no need for a cell phone as I am married.
Craig May 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM
the police ought to lead by example. a few of them should be arrested for driving on the telephone,
Craig May 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM
good riddens. charlene should join your party. you two would sing a different tune if it was your brother who was dead and the murderer was about and about playing lacrosse. for all you who think she will bear this cross for the rest of her life, she has already demonstrated no respect by playing games while others mourned. hopefully the parents who told her to get her mind off things and go play will also have something to think about when the doorbell rings and the $5MM civil liability suit is served.
Craig May 22, 2012 at 01:01 PM
girlfriends, wives and fishing buddies are not on the list....
Charlene May 22, 2012 at 01:32 PM
@craig. You're right I would probably sing a different tune if it were my family member, but it isn't and I'm looking at the situation from the outside. My questions were how do you show remorse and for how long do you stay holed up? At what point do you try and pick up the pieces of your shattered life? The same questions could be applied to the victims family. If it were 2 weeks later and the girl went back to her schedule, would that be enough time? Would people like you say "oh we haven't seen her in 2 weeks, thats nice that she stayed locked up in her room, thats respectful". I doubt it. You'd keep singing your song of how she needs to continue to suffer.
John May 22, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Liberals are incapable of logical thought due to a metabolic brain chemistry defect.
Canaanite May 22, 2012 at 04:42 PM
What the heck does being married have to do with one's need of a cell phone? <<SHAKING MY HEAD>>
Canaanite May 22, 2012 at 04:53 PM
This is not really for any of us to decide . . . She will be dealt with according to the law, as lax or not as that is, and as for how long she mourns or stays holed up, it's not really relevant to any of us, bc she will do what she wants to do and what her parents encourage her to do, and there we are. I am not too concerned about her "shattered life" however, because she is still alive, probably won't go to jail for any length of time, and will continue to move on playing lacrosse games and will also probably continue to drive in the future. I don't fault anyone for feeling she should suffer a little bit . . . anyone who commits such a heinous act *ought* to feel bad about it for a respectable amount of time (at a minimum until after the funeral) . . . and try to make amends with the family of the victim (also something none of us may be privvy to, so we shouldn't judge), and should *not* be out playing lacrosse and carefree as a means of "therapy" in order to get on with her charmed life . . . She ought to suffer for a while, she ought to be changed forever, and she ought to also change her life . . . However, whether that will happen is her own affair. I don't think she should stay locked up in her room, she should go out there and make a difference and turn what happened into something good for others . . .
Dee May 22, 2012 at 07:51 PM
The law states that NO PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF 18 CAN USE A DEVICE EVEN VIA BLUE TOOTH - doesnt matter if its a portable bluetooth or indash bluetooth - its illegal to use for a child under the age of 18...period but yes getting them installed for all cars would definitely help
Dee May 22, 2012 at 07:54 PM
mary that was me who mentioned the 6 1/2 minutes and it was made public knowledge in several of the reports that were produced.
Let the Demolition Proceed! May 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Charlene, For one thing, take your photo down. Who do you think you are? Dear Abby. Its obvious, that playing lacrosse is more important than grieving for a loss of life that she caused and by showing respect until at least their funeral is over. This is not about taking your mind off what happened, This is all about playing for the lacrossechampionships. Our society places more emphasis on sports tan doing what's decent and right. She should have been suspended from the team until the legal hearings were settled.
Charlene May 24, 2012 at 09:59 AM
@demolition- I agree that most people in society have their priorities screwed up, look at you, you felt the need to comment on my profile having a picture. What does this have to do with anything? I'm not hiding behind an alias. We don't know what kind of grief either family is going thru and to say "she should be suspended" is rediculous - The legal hearings won't be settled for years. The court will decide her punishment. Hopefully someone will have learned a lesson from this and a life will be saved.
Jennifer22 May 26, 2012 at 07:25 AM
What about Kate Regan?
Jean Marie Wiesen May 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM
The cavalier attitude towards Ken's death by some posters, makes me ill. Ken was a friend of mine, too. It will not be years prior to the end of the legal wranglings and the prosecution of this girl. If this were a civil matter, that indeed would be true, as they do take years to move through the courts. It is entirely factual that she was on the phone w/ her mother for 6 minutes as it was also determined that she was downloading music. This was accomplished through forensics findings, which is why her phone was seized; it was a part of the investigation. This is all a matter of public record. If this girl and her family had a modicum of civility, they would have, at the very least had their guilty daughter not play the lacrosse game out of respect for the Dorsey family until their son was buried. It all goes to show that money cannot buy class. The school should have suspended her as it was patently obvious she was responsible for the death of another human being. No, I don't feel pity for her, she consciously made a very poor choice w/ a 3,500 ton weapon and knowingly broke the law by using her cell phone, numerous times prior to taking Ken's life w/o touching the brakes. She deserves to live w/ it for the rest of her life; it was her fault. The Dorsey's no longer have a son as a result of stupidity.
Jean Marie Wiesen May 27, 2012 at 02:41 PM
P.S. When police are on cell phone, they are communicating back and forth w/ other departmental vehicles, IE: police vehicles, ambulances, etc., and don't always use the radios. Why, you ask? B/c too many out there purchase scanners and listen in the frequencies! that's why. so in order to have private communications, they use cell phones...duh!!! each car/ambulance has one. welcome to the age of secure communication, and yes they're trained.
Kendall L Owott May 27, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Hey, Craig Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. What does this mean? Craig 8:59 am on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 good riddens. charlene should join your party
Kendall L Owott May 27, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I would like to offer my condolences to the family of Kenneth Dorsey because of their loss at this time. Sometimes on Patch we forget that there may be a wider audience than just our own particular town and what is appropriate conversation in some circumstances is out of place in others. This is one of those times. Please accept my apology.
John June 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Not only stupidity, but selfishness...ME ME ME...
mary parker June 05, 2012 at 07:09 AM
As I commented before: I thought the driving age in CT. was changed to 18 years old to get a liscence? If it isn't, it should be.
Glen K Dunbar June 05, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Well Mary. Believe it or not...I AGREE. Driving age s/b 18. I remember when I was a teen my parents, Grandma and Nick Pia FORCED me to take Driver Ed and get a license so I could help out. I could not and still can't help myself and they wanted me to help out the Family. I will also say this though and I know many will disagree. I respect your opinions. BUT, I feel drinking age should be 18 across the board in ALL States. It is only fair. 18 they go to the military and have a slew of other responsibilites and are urged to vote. So, they should be rewarded w/being able to go in a bar. As for this story. I still feel for the poor vitim and Family. But, I feel for the poor Girl that is accused of doing this. What a terrbile thing She will have to live w/the rest of her life. Sad GLEN
Let the Demolition Proceed! June 06, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Massachusetts Teen Aaron Deveau Found Guilty in Landmark Texting While Driving Case
Sadness June 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM
How much time needs to pass before Ken Dorsey can continue on with his life?
Glen K Dunbar June 15, 2012 at 10:56 PM
To the person who asked what being married had to do w/carrying a cell phone?? In a polite manner....MARRIED ??? Do the math. I see my wife every night. Why Ido I want to talk to her other times so She can tell me I am wrong like She always does. Nobody Love me. Nobody Care. I still feel very bad for this poor Girl and having to live w/this. As for getting on w/her life. That is the only way for her to heel. Again, When her court date arrives I hope they will go EASY on her. When She turn 18 her record should legally be erased too I think GLEN
Dee June 16, 2012 at 01:53 PM
At Glen - I wonder if you spend all day responding to various stories in "The Patch"...interesting. Your responses to this particular story are contradictory - in one you wonder in outrage (using capital letters usually indicates this) why this young woman had to talk to her Mum for 6 minutes yet now want the courts to go easy on her and now feel really sorry for her...hmmm...and btw - "heal" is spelled with an "a" versus "e" in this particular context
Jean Marie Wiesen June 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Glad you said it, Dee & not not me b/c out of respect for Ken's Mom, I need to stay away from his type. This girl, sadly won't get what she deserves b/c the law doesn't allow for it due to her age which is preposterous. She knowingly broke the cell phone law w/o due regard for my friend's life. She was still on the phone when she ran him down. She had been on the phone w/ her mother, who should have had the common sense to tell her to hang up... She needs her license revoked, plus lengthy community service as in speaking to teens since the likelihood of her doing any jail time isn't about to happen. She certainly should not be allowed to walk away from taking Ken's life. Let's hope the MA case sets a precedent & this one goes to trial as well.
meanpeoplesuck June 20, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Dee, I was very compassionate to your situation, until you starting picking on Glen and his spelling. Why do that? What does that have to do with Ken? By the way, you said: “While noone wishes...” Should be two separate words, “no one”. You said: “...all it takes is seconds to devastate two families lives...” Should be plural possessive, “families' “. You said: “...its a fact of life...” Should be “it’s”. We all make mistakes Dee, even you.
Dee June 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM
@meanpeople suck - Clearly I'm not perfect - never claimed to be but I can agree to disagree as I am European and we use grammar differently but yes its should have been "it's" - obviously a typo so my apologies. My issue with Glen is his flip flopping on all issues but for those of us who were affected differently by Ken's death than many who have commented in this forum, its a little frustrating - that's all. As far as the young woman who was responsible for Ken's death, I wish her and her family absolutely no ill will and simply hope that she is fairly judged as every action has a reaction, however while all of this is playing out in the media and public forums such as this I personally am choosing to remember Ken by visiting his grave, talking to his friends and family and remembering the things that made me laugh. RIP Ken and you are missed xx


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