“Missteps” in Probe of Crash Involving Cop

A new report claims missteps, a "lack of leadership" and "poor incident management" led to errors being made after a deadly accident involving an off-duty Windsor Locks police officer.

The town hired Frank Rudewicz to investigate the Oct. 30 crash in which Windsor Locks officer Michael Koistenen hit and killed Henry Dang, 15, while Dang rode his bike.

Koistinen was never given a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer at the scene, and both Windsor Locks officers and NCMARS investigators did not find a glass containing beer at the scene until hours after the accident, according to the report. NCMARS is a regional accident investigation team made up of officers from several departments.

"The tasks were delayed or did not occur primarily due to the lack of leadership and poor incident management, specifically on the part of Windsor Locks Police Chief John Suchocki, Granby Captain David Bourque and to a lesser extent, Team Leader Granby Officer Jerry Dowd," the report stated.

It wasn't until state police took over the investigation, was it learned that Koistenen had allegedly been drinking before the incident.

"Whether Michael Koistinen was operating under the influence could only be conclusively determined by testing of blood or breath. This testing did not occur as Michael Koistinen was never required by law enforcement or medical personnel to submit to a blood or breath test," the report stated. "He refused a voluntary test at the hospital."

But according to Rudewicz's report, information known to police at the time of the accident should have required Michael Koistinen submit to a test for alcohol or drug use.

In fact, the report found no Windsor Locks officer even questioned Koistinen about whether he had been drinking that night.

Chief Suchocki arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the accident, and in ordered all Windsor Locks officers not to be involved with the investigation into the accident to eliminate any appearance of a conflict of interest. The report called Suchocki's order "well-intentioned", but it violated the NCMARS agreement. Command of any incident should remain the responsibility of the Chief of Police of the participating town in which the incident occurs, according to the policy.

Koistinen was eventually arrested by state police and charged with second-degree manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. He was fired from the department.

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