House Speaker Christopher Donovan suspended Rep. James O'Rourke indefinitely today his position as deputy House speaker.

Donovan's action came after he learned that state prosecutors are deciding whether to charge O'Rourke with criminally negligent homicide in the death of a woman who received a ride from O'Rourke soon before she was found dead of exposure in a remote, snow-covered area of Rocky Hill.

"We do not know yet if prosecutors or a judge will sign the warrant," Donovan said Friday. "However, given these developments, I have made the decision to suspend Representative O'Rourke from his leadership position in the House Democratic caucus as deputy speaker.

"Rep. O'Rourke needs to be able to devote his attention to these personal and legal matters. While he does so, he will not be able to adequately carry out the additional responsibilities of deputy speaker during an especially challenging time in the legislature."

Since the suspension is indefinite, it is unknown whether it will last throughout the rest of the regular legislative session, which ends June 3.

The suspension will last "until things are resolved," said Doug Whiting, a spokesman for Donovan.

Donovan's action came within hours after state Republican chairman Christopher Healy called upon O'Rourke to resign from the legislature or publicly explain what happened when he gave a ride on January 21to Carol Sinisgalli, a state employee whose body was found the next day. The medical examiner ruled that she had died of exposure.

The Rocky Hill police have filed an application for an arrest warrant for O'Rourke on a charge of criminally negligent homicide in Sinisgalli's death. The charge is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

"People on their side are quick to hammer our people," Healy said.

O'Rourke was not available for immediate comment.