Police Sergeant Files Suit Against State

Friday, Mar 7, 2014  |  Updated 5:14 PM EDT
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Police Sergeant Files Suit Against State

A Windsor Locks police sergeant is suing the state, claiming he was falsely arrested in connection with a fatal crash his son caused.

Attorneys for Robert Koistinen filed the suit in January. Among the claims in the suit are that witness statements that the teenage victim killed in the crash was drifting into travel lanes and appeared drunk by the way he was riding his bike were not included in an affidavit.

Robert Koistinen’s son, Michael Koistinen was off-duty just before midnight on Oct. 29, 2010, after a night of drinking, when he and hit Henry Dang, 15, as the teen was riding his bike, according to police.

Michael Koistinen pleaded no contest to charges connected to the death and was sentenced to five years and four months. Michael Koistinen was never given a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test after the crash.

Robert Koistinen was one of the first officers at the scene of the crash and was accused of taking his son away from the scene of the crash. He was charged with hindering prosecution in the investigation into the crash and has been found not guilty.

Witnesses said Sgt. Koistinen did not search for an object that his son had thrown from the vehicle just after the crash. It turned out to be a broken beer glass with beer still in it.

The lawsuit says Sgt. Koistinen did conduct a search, found nothing, and then local police were told not to take part in the search to avoid any perception of conflict.

He also denied that he discouraged any police officer from speaking with his son.

Robert Koistinen was on paid leave after the crash and was fired in 2012. Later that year, he was acquitted on all charges.

In February 2014, the state Labor Board ruled Robert Koistinen should get his job back.

In the suit, Koistinen maintains he followed customary practice during the investigation.

It goes on to state that sworn affidavits from investigators contain “many material omissions and misrepresentations” and falsely stated that there was probable cause to charge Koistinen with hindering prosecution.

The lawsuit also alleges an affidavit failed to include a witness statement from someone who said “he saw the bicycle drifting into the westbound lane of travel” and another witness who said her first impression was that the bicyclist must be drunk based on the matter in which he was operating his bike.

The suit states Robert Koistinen is looking for money damages, actual damages, dignatory damages, punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and costs.

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