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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Jogger's death sparks distracted-driver law

Updated 8:50 pm, Monday, May 19, 2014

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  • In this March 24, 2012, photo, Norwalk, Conn., police stand at the scene of an accident on New Canaan Avenue where Kenneth Dorsey, 43, of Norwalk was fatally struck by an SUV while he was jogging. A 16-year-old girl from New Canaan, Conn., who police say was driving the SUV, turned herself in May 12, 2012, after learning there was a warrant out for her arrest on charges of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle. Photo: Danielle Robinson, The Hour,  Danielle Robinson Via AP / Associated Press

    In this March 24, 2012, photo, Norwalk, Conn., police stand at the scene of an accident on New Canaan Avenue where Kenneth Dorsey, 43, of Norwalk was fatally struck by an SUV while he was jogging. A 16-year-old girl from New Canaan, Conn., who police say was driving the SUV, turned herself in May 12, 2012, after learning there was a warrant out for her arrest on charges of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.

    Photo: Danielle Robinson, The Hour, Danielle Robinson Via AP

 

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The mother of a Norwalk jogger who was killed by a distracted driver says it will take more than a small fine to stop people from using their smartphones while driving.

More than two years after Marlene and Leo Dorsey's son, 44-year-old Kenneth Dorsey, was killed, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill that sets a penalty of up to $1,000 for such incidents.

Malloy signed the Act Concerning the Penalty for Causing Harm to a Vulnerable User of a Public Way on Monday, among a host of other bills. The bill was inspired by the incident that cost Dorsey his life. It would fine drivers who harm pedestrians, bicyclists, people in wheelchairs and anyone else who has a right to be on the road.

Marlene Dorsey said she appreciates lawmaker's efforts, but said the family believes more must be done.

In March 2012, Kenneth Dorsey was jogging in preparation for a marathon when Brianna McEwan, a New Canaan High School student, struck and killed him while checking her smartphone. McEwan, who was a minor at the time, was placed on probation for an undisclosed term.

"We haven't forgotten this," Marlene Dorsey said Monday from her home in Milford. "My husband is on a mission. Hopefully, we can stop other families from going through this."

Leo Dorsey has been considering how to tackle distracted driving at the congressional level.

Calls to two of the lawmakers who supported the bill were not immediately returned Monday.

Marlene Dorsey said drivers must stop using their phones in their vehicles, and the Dorseys hope Congress will support a law to render mobile phones inoperable in moving cars.

"You don't need your phone while you're driving," Marlene Dorsey said. "How important have we all become that we need to be on our phones all the time?"

She said she wants people to realize it only took a moment to change her family forever. "It can happen to you," she said.