Lawsuit Filed in Death of Woman Who Froze to Death


They want him to pay.  The family of a woman who froze to death in a snowbank last year after getting out of the car of Cromwell state Rep. James O'Rourke, has filed a lawsuit.

The mother and sister of Carol Sinsigalli, 41, claim that O'Rourke's recklessness and negligence contributed to her death in January 2009.  They are seeking undisclosed damages.

O'Rourke was cleared in Sinsigalli's death after prosecutors said there was not enough evidence in the case to charge him.

O'Rourke told police Sinsigalli jumped into his car in the parking lot of a Cromwell bar.  He said she became belligerent and later jumped out in the snow.  He told police he thought she was near her home when she got out.

O'Rourke has denied any wrongdoing.

The unusual night unfolded like this -- Sinsigalli went to Digger McDuff's, a Cromwell tavern, on January 21, 2009.  Police say she was acting erratically -- assaulting bar patrons and throwing her coat in the trash.  The police were eventually called to remove the DMV employee from the bar.  She left behind her shoes, purse, cell phone and jacket.

This is where Rep. O'Rourke's timing is unfortunate.  He arrived the bar that night just as all the drama with Sinsigalli was unfolding.   O'Rourke and Sinsigalli knew each other threw a mutual friend.

O'Rourke told police when Sinsigalli jumped in his car and asked for a ride to her home in Rocky Hill. He offered to drive her because she seemed to drunk to drive.  At one point, O'Rourke said Sinsigalli opened the back door of the car as it was moving. O'Rourke told investigators when Sinsigalli started lunging between the front seats and knocked his glasses off, he dropped her off in a mixed residential-industrial area near where he believed she lived.

Instead of going home, Sinsigalli took a meandering route in 14-degree weather.  She was found near railroad tracks by a cross-country skier at 4:45pm on Jan. 22, 2009.  She had died of hypothermia and had a blood alcohol level of .08 percent.  Toxicology tests showed she also had cocaine and an anti-depressant in her system.

In the end the police investigation lead to several dead ends. For more details on the history of this case, click here.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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