Crash victim's fiancee wants end to hearings

CONCORD – Michelle Cardoso has had enough of suffering.

Her fiance died in a car crash two years ago and state officials are still trying to hold his friend accountable. It remains to be seen whether her emotional plea will have any effect.

Cardoso urged state Department of Motor Vehicles hearings examiner Mark Seymour to end her suffering at a disposition hearing Thursday to determine for how long Michael Gorsuch will lose his driver’s license.

“I’ve already suffered so much for two years,” Cardoso said. “If you could, just stop it. I can’t take it anymore. We already lost Dan.”

Thursday’s proceedings was the third part of a hearing during which state investigators sought to suspend Gorsuch’s license, alleging that he was behind the wheel when Daniel Rodriguez’s 2007 Toyota Scion crashed on Thornton Road in 2007, killing Rodriguez.

State Police trooper Carleen Bowman asked Seymour to

sus suspend Gorsuch’s license for the maximum seven years, pointing to “the totality of the circumstances” including his high blood-alcohol level.

Michale Gorsuch

Gorsuch’s attorney, Joseph Gall, asked Seymour to consider Gorsuch’s relatively minor record before the crash and the fact that his driving privileges had already been suspended for 68 days by bail conditions.

Following what was essentially a sentencing hearing Thursday, Seymour said he would issue a written ruling.

Rodriguez and Gorsuch crashed following a night of drinking at Sky Lounge on Amherst Street in Nashua on Oct. 29, 2007, after celebrating the Red Sox World Series win.

The Toyota veered off Thornton Road just after midnight and hit some trees. The force of the impact killed Rodriguez.

Nashua police initially charged Gorsuch with negligent homicide and driving recklessly while drunk. Those charges were dropped when a pair of retired state troopers issued its own accident reconstruction report that determined Rodriguez had been driving.

Cardoso said she was “disturbed” during the earlier hearings because she felt Rodriguez was essentially spoken for by reports and blood analysis. It should have been she who spoke for Rodriguez, she said, the person who knew him best.

“Daniel would not want any of this right now. I know that more than anything,” she said. “None of this makes sense to me. I know Dan was driving that day, and he wouldn’t want this. He wouldn’t want any of this.”

Therese Gorsuch, Gorsuch’s stepmother, said she could not understand Seymour’s ruling. The evidence, she said, makes it clear Rodriguez was driving.

“This is not rocket science. Think about it people,” she said. “Mike was not driving. It’s that simple.”

Gorsuch declined to comment following the hearing.

Bowman said she understands the Gorsuch family’s feelings “however, I never had a doubt after reading Nashua’s reports and all the reports that Michael was driving the vehicle.

“If I did, I wouldn’t have gone forward,” she said.

Last month, Seymour issued a ruling that determined Gorsuch had in fact been driving at the time of the accident. He said he was mostly swayed by the nature of Rodriguez’s injuries, he said, including fractured ribs on his right side, bruises on his shoulder matching the patter of the passenger side seat belt anchor, and a patterned abrasion on his right shoulder matching the texture pattern of the passenger side airbag.

Gorsuch initially told first responders he exited the car through the passenger door. He later said he climbed over Rodriguez to exit through the driver’s door and eventually told police he could not remember how he got out.

Seymour said it was “implausible” he did not remember that but remembered other details of the night before and after the crash.

“Attributing the respondent’s inconsistent statements to the shock of the crash and/or his intoxication does not ring true especially given his recall in other areas,” Seymour wrote.