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Simsbury Teen to Serve 8 Months in Fatal Crash that Killed Tommy Tanski

Austin Buckmann will serve 8 months of a 3 1/2 year prison sentence for a fatal crash that killed 17-year-old Tommy Tanski.

A Simsbury teen will serve a minimum of 8 months in prison after he was sentenced Thursday in the fatal 2011 crash that killed 17-year-old Tommy Tanski.

19-year-old Austin Buckmann was sentenced to a minimum of 8 months in prison after he pleaded no contest at Superior Court on Thursday to second degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, according to the Hartford Courant.

Buckmann was driving a 1999 Nissan Sentra with 3 passengers when the car struck a telephone pole on Old Meadow Plain Road at about 1 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, 2011.

Buckmann, 19, Zachary Fons, 19 and Tory Munson, 18, suffered minor injuries in the accident but survived. Tanski did not.

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More than 250 attended a funeral service for Tanski and a fundraiser was held to help his family pay for his gravestone.

Following an investigation, police charged Buckmann on Dec. 8, 2011 with traveling unreasonably fast, reckless driving, operating under the influence under the age of 21, failure to drive in the proper lane, second-degree manslaughter, and second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle.

The teen turned himself in and was released on a $25,000 non-surety bond.

According to court records, Buckmann pleaded not guilty Thursday to all but one of the charges. The 19-year-old pleaded no contest to second degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, according to court records.

Buckmann's full sentence was 3 1/2 years to be suspended after 8 months followed by 4 years of probation, according to the Hartford Courant.

Caroline Bendine November 15, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Was it because the person killed was still a minor? I'm guessing he had a choice on whether or not to get in the car with a drunk driver and whether or not to buckle their seatbelt (did he?) Regardless, it is sad and I understand the charges but I would never get in a car with someone I know was drinking
Shelley November 15, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Eight months for driving drunk and killing someone doesn't seem right to me.
Margaret November 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Caroline, Every family in this situation suffered a loss and still suffers from the reprecautions of that evening. It is a shame you didn't do your homework before posting your ignorant comment. As I am confident the answers you are looking for can be locatied in both the Simsbury news and the simsbury patch. As the loss of Tommy Tanski is now public information.
Caroline Bendine November 16, 2012 at 02:19 AM
It wasnt an ignorant comment, why would someone knowingly get in the car with someone who is drunk?
FrontDoor117 November 16, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I'm with Caroline. What if he didn't realize that the driver was drunk? Assuming without doing your homework is a tough stance to defend.
FrontDoor117 November 16, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Oops! I meant that I was in agreement with Margaret...
Kate November 16, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Maybe everyone should not be so concerned with judging others and pointing fingers.
Milo Talon November 16, 2012 at 12:39 PM
What about the responsibility of the person who gave alcohol to the underage driver?
parent12 November 16, 2012 at 02:41 PM
A veritable slap on the wrist for such serious charges, and a joke for not guilty plea to all but vehicular manslaughter. A 19 year old with good hearing, eyesight, and reflexes doesnt hit a telephone pole unless impaired and/or traveling@ high rate of speed. What a teen boy doesn't have is the maturity and good judgement to make a decision not to get into a car with a buddy who has been drinking - the whole peer pressure thing. All judgement aside, we can be sure that the personal struggle Buckmann will endure for the remainder of his life will be worse than any court-administered punishment.
Highway Worker November 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
i never got in a vehicle with a driver that was drinking. We always had a designated driver who would only drink soda and since my buddies and I rotated the designated driver respected the assignment. To this day, I will not drink & drive, I have seen first hand too many accidents and been narrowly missed while working by DUI's.
FrontDoor117 November 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Again, what if the kid didn't realize the driver had been impaired? Honestly, how can you and others assume you know the circumstances of that night? Do your homework before standing up and beating your chest in judgment. Props to HW for sticking to the DD because it's the only right thing to do when your going out on the town! Driving impaired is wrong at any age!
Christine Tanski November 17, 2012 at 04:59 AM
This is very thoughtful commentary. Given the limited knowledge of the "posters", it is quite generic and to be expected. So let me clarify a few things for your inquiring minds. Caroline, you are right. Tommy did have a choice to get into the car that night, however, for reasons I cannot discuss in an arena such as this, I can tell you that he did not know the extent of the drivers level of "spiritedness", if you will. Tommy's friends told me that they were in shock when they heard of this because he was always the one who asked the driver of any vehicle he got into if they had been drinking. He also would tell everyone to wear their seatbelts. Yes, Caroline, he WAS wearing his seatbelt that night. Parent 12, it would seem that it was a joke pleading not guilty to the other charges but again, limited information would rationally cause you to make that comment and know that that's exactly what you have...limited information. You are also correct that no court could render a punishment more severe than wearing the "scarlet letter" that reads, "I killed Tommy Tanski" forever.
Christine Tanski November 17, 2012 at 04:59 AM
It is wonderful that all of you are so responsible. I hope that you never have to experience what we have been through with your own children. You must, however, be mindful of one thing. You can think you are doing everything right and it can still end up wrong. So before you assume that you yourselves could never possibly end up in a car with a driver who had been drinking you might want to consider that the only thing on this planet that is "absolute" is death. Do not be so niave as to assume that you are infallible. That's what teenagers do and when they do, horrific things like this happen.

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