The deadly collision of two vehicles, each driven under the influence of alcohol last year — one carrying four young people returning from a late-night party and the other driven by a man whose career was dedicated to saving lives — united these five individuals in a most tragic way.
Now, the South Fire District firefighter, one of two men charged with second-degree manslaughter and negligent homicide in the fatal crash that killed a 20-year-old Meriden man on July 24, 2011, resigned from the department Monday, according to David P. Gallitto, South Fire District Commission chair.
Stephen Tyrseck of Durham’s resignation, which was tendered in the commission’s executive session, was effective Tuesday, Gallitto said. The end of his one-year unpaid leave of absence, which began on Jan. 3, was due before the next scheduled monthly meeting of the commission, Gallitto said.
Tyrseck and Jedidiah Roesler of Meriden are charged with driving while intoxicated that evening and have both entered not-guilty pleas in Middletown Superior Court related to the death of Alexander Martinez of Meriden.
“Whatever benefits he has coming to him, mainly his pension, will be pro-rated for the amount of time he’s worked for the district,” said Gallitto, estimating Tyrseck served between nine and a half and 10 years at South Fire.
No reason is needed, according to union rules, when a firefighter steps down, Gallitto said, and none was given in this case.
Martinez, 20, was a passenger in a car driven by Roesler, which collided with a pick-up truck driven by Tyrseck at South Main Street and Highland Avenue in Middletown. He was pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected from the 2002 Honda Civic about 2:30 a.m., according to police. Tyrseck was traveling south on South Main approaching Highland Avenue.
That intersection at Route 17 near the Durham line, has been the scene of a few accidents, owing to the blinking yellow light on South Main and stop signs on either side of Highland Avenue.
Tyrseck has been on unpaid leave since January, according to David P. Gallitto, South Fire District Commision chair.
Roesler, the son of Meriden Public Library director Karen Roesler, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide and reckless driving, DUI, traveling too fast for conditions, and improper turn. He is being represented by Attorney John R. Donovan, a former prosecutor for the state of Connecticut.
Tyrseck, represented by Rome McGuigan Attorneys, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide and reckless driving, DUI, speeding more than 60 mph and failure to drive on the right.
Both men are due back in Middletown Superior Court on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m.