Jury selection is to begin, this week in Hartford Superior Court, for the trial of a former police officer accused of crashing into high school sophomore Henry Dang who was killed while riding his bicycle in Windsor Locks. Michael Koistinen of Suffield a, former police officer, is facing charges of first-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle, and tampering with evidence. The case stems from an October30, 2010, accident that killed the 15-year-old Dang. Former police officer Koistinen, 26, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of all three charges.
Police allege that Koistinen had been drinking for several hours, including while attending a UCONN football game and later at a Suffield bar, before he struck Dang at more than double the speed limit. One of the Windsor Locks officers who reported to the scene of the accident was Koistinen’s father, Sergeant Robert Koistinen.
A State Police investigation found that Sgt. Koistinen drove his son from the crash site to the police station and back as many as three times, and later prevented an investigating officer from interviewing and getting a blood sample from Michael Koistinen while he was receiving treatment at a hospital. Robert Koistinen was charged with hindering the investigation and awaits trial. Both of the parties were later fired from the Suffield police department.
The Defendant was not charged with drunken driving because a blood test was not done and because a urine sample taken at the hospital was destroyed, pursuant to hospital policy, before police obtained a search warrant for the Defendant’s medical records.
Henry Dang’s family settled the wrongful death lawsuit instituted against Michael Koistinen and a former tavern owner last year for $420,000.