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  1. #1
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    15 Year old cyclist Killed by a speeding DUI COP in CT

    I have to re-post this because no one seemed to notice it. Guys, this is HUGE.

    We are going to the site tomorrow night.

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...0,367920.story

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    Quote Originally Posted by IknowURider View Post
    I have to re-post this because no one seemed to notice it. Guys, this is HUGE.

    We are going to the site tomorrow night.

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...0,367920.story
    very sad. Just another data point in the falling integrity of the profession of law enforcement. It will be interesting to see what happens. Sounds like a small town police force that thinks they own the town.

    my condolences to the Dang family.

  3. #3
    vol
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    Hmmm, a cop, whose father is also a cop... And look at their expressions in the photo...
    Not so optimistic about the outcome of the case.

    (p.s. Search the web and there are more about this)

    "And although he was only 15, she said, he had dreams of pursuing a career in law enforcement. "He always said he wanted to be a police officer, which is really ironic," Jenny Dang said."
    Last edited by vol; 11-23-10 at 11:53 PM.

  4. #4
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Glad to see this case being aggressively prosecuted, that's rare.

    Going to hard to prove all these charges though, especially with the teen riding a bicycle around midnight that the defense lawyer will tear into. Hopefully, this guy will never be in law-enforcement again at a minimum.

  5. #5
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    So it's all a "visibility problem" according to the defense.

    I can see that, after all driving blind drunk at seventy MPH I'd have problems seeing properly too
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty or safety" Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    "A person abiding by all the rules of the road and having never had a drink in their lives would not have been able to avoid an accident with the bicycle if he rode through the red light, at night, at that intersection with little visibility," Spector said.
    Spector is the defense attorney. What I want to know is where he got the idea that the dead cyclist had run a red light... or is he merely throwing this up as a smokescreen because "everyone knows cyclists always run red lights... "

    What a piece of work.

    But then he is all but admitting that his client wasn't following the rules of the road and had been drinking...

  7. #7
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    What a dirtbag. What a dirtbag defense. Was a BAC taken at the scene or was the cop above suspicion?

  8. #8
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    If anyone is in CT, we are having a candlelight vigil tonight at the corner of Spring and West Sts, in Windsor Locks. You can of course go any other time as well. I may also go on friday

    I am donating some LED candles which I hope will stay lit for 3 weeks.

    Couple things:

    -No skid marks

    -the speed was verified by the vehicles on-board computer

    -It's not illegal to ride at midnight, but chances are the kid didn't have reflection, or a front strobe.

    -The officer did not administer CPR. They are trained to do that.

    -The first responder on the scene was the Deputy cheif. He was there in minutes.

    -They have videotape of the cop sitting in a bar drinking.

    -Apparently, there are witnesses, despite what the lawyer said.

    -there is a videotape on the Hartford Courant site of the newscast. It didn't reapear, maybe you can dig it up and repost . Here's a recent article, though..

    Guys, anythinh you can do to write in would be huge. Writing Channel 3 would be a good idea. I hope to get a couple hundred riders to show up on Jan 7 and sit there quietly. It does work. It worked in the CA case with the road rage surgeon who is now doing 5 years...

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...0,433386.story
    Last edited by IknowURider; 11-25-10 at 11:58 AM.

  9. #9
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    oh wow, they found a broken bud bottle with beer in it?

    I'm sure a lab test would reveal some fingerprints?

    How fresh was the beer ? (probably circumstantial)

    The neighbor should have whipped out a video camera, or snapped photos.

  10. #10
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    Ok I blogged about this and included some pics . Attn' mods: my blog initially had a couple "F words" in it, I normally don't do this, but in this case a 15 year old kid gets whacked by a drunken cop and I'm freakin' peeved . It's artistic expression, nothing more.

    I have since edited the blog and made corrections to some things I learned.



    Please do not flip out and ban me. I feel this is a huge case, and If I don't expose it just this one last time it will be soon forgotten.

    If anyone cares, please write to the Hartford Courant on the link in the body of the blog post. The link was also posted by someone else in another thread. It helps.

    Got kids?

    Thanks, peace out, prayers to those STILL in combat

    http://newamericancyclist.tumblr.com...ry-dang?ref=nf
    Last edited by IknowURider; 11-27-10 at 01:38 PM. Reason: updated content

  11. #11
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    BTW, our tax dollars are still paying these two dirtbags for a couple years until this goes to trial.

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...,3316978.story

  12. #12
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=spring...268.33,,0,4.27

    pretty decent visibility, IMO.

    I have had to make two separate citizen complaints in one year on Bridgeport cops who cut me off with left and right hooks. The second time I was asked to come into the station and then pressured to withdraw my complaint. I'd love to find a way to take some time off and show up on Jan 7th.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  13. #13
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IknowURider View Post
    BTW, our tax dollars are still paying these two dirtbags for a couple years until this goes to trial.

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...,3316978.story
    Hey, I'm a union person myself, and I'm glad that there are still a few jobs in this country that have a "disciplinary process." Suspension of both of these guys is a sign that this disciplinary process is moving in the right direction. No evidence that it will be "a couple of years."

    The department's noncommittal comments are just part of how this works. You don't want someone claiming unfairness in the process if the department makes strong statements.

    Two cops' salaries for a few months or whatever is worth it to maintain our "innocent until proven guilty" approach to justice. I'm all for speeding things up-- the pockets we're really lining as a society are those of the lawyers.

    Now let's subpoena some cell phone records and nail these guys.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  14. #14
    Senior Member surgeonstone's Avatar
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    Don't diss the lawyer, he is doing his job, trying to get his client off. It is how the system works. This is a hard thing for me to say as a surgeon who has had an occasional lawsuit, but the system of law in our country is a good one. Imperfect- but better than most. I have developed a great respect for most lawyers, even those trying to prove I am incompetent.

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    I have edited the blog, and cleaned up the wording. If you had been there and talked to the folks around there, you might have been a little tweaked out as well. I apologize. I also added a couple more notes from what I learned.

    Initially , I thought that Dang was headed across spring St. from right to left, but he was headed downhill, travelling in the same direction as the cop. I'm just speculating that he was on the sidewalk, most kids on BMX stay on the sidewalk. He probably then crossed at the crosswalk before the intersection to jump on the sidewalk on the left .

    Chances are , he didn't hear the cop coming from behind, he might have been wearing a hooded sweatshirt. If it was foggy, the fog would further muffle the sound of the speeding vehicle bearing down on him from behind. So he was probably hit as he began to make the turn.

    Again, I'm speculating on this as a cyclist, based on what I see out there, and they way kids behave. I tried to put myself in Dang's shoes as you can see.



    My friends were there the other night at 10 PM and were amazed that cars were still hammering down Spring St at 60 MPH. As you can see, that stretch is a long straightaway.
    Last edited by IknowURider; 11-27-10 at 01:34 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
    Don't diss the lawyer, he is doing his job, trying to get his client off. It is how the system works. This is a hard thing for me to say as a surgeon who has had an occasional lawsuit, but the system of law in our country is a good one. Imperfect- but better than most. I have developed a great respect for most lawyers, even those trying to prove I am incompetent.
    I understand that some men, yourself included, have tough jobs. That's why they make all that money.

    But his statement on camera (see the videos on the Courant site) that "Koistenen wasn't drunk" may be self condemmning. The bar-tender's tab and the fact that the bartender is a witness is pretty strong. So is the bar's videotape.

    I'm more peeved right now at the opportunistic newspaper reporter who starts lecturing me how to ride my bike, like he's a traffic expert, just because a kid gets killed st this spot. I was taking pictures when he pulled up. I wasn't even in the saddle.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    Hey, I'm a union person myself, and I'm glad that there are still a few jobs in this country that have a "disciplinary process." Suspension of both of these guys is a sign that this disciplinary process is moving in the right direction. No evidence that it will be "a couple of years."

    The department's noncommittal comments are just part of how this works. You don't want someone claiming unfairness in the process if the department makes strong statements.

    Two cops' salaries for a few months or whatever is worth it to maintain our "innocent until proven guilty" approach to justice. I'm all for speeding things up-- the pockets we're really lining as a society are those of the lawyers.

    Now let's subpoena some cell phone records and nail these guys.
    oh I'm cool with a couple month's salary. The whole town is flipping out about it as you can see. The speculation that this will take years to move through the system is not mine, but I lean towards that. Even as it stands, drunk or not, he was going 2.5 times the speed limit.

    There's also the statement from Dad that he only went back to the station once. The station videotape show him going there 3 times.

    I see you are a CT res. Please write in to the Courant with the cell phone idea, Nobody has mentioned that yet.

  18. #18
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    dude PM me before the 7th. Bring friends. Or send some kids up here on the train. Anything.

    Again, I don't hate cops. Two of my best friends are cops, but they are damn good ones. I would take a bullet for either of them. I am saying a peace prayer right now.

    Again, the most ironic thing here is Dang wanted to be a cop someday himself. Read Dang's quote on his journal, left at the memorial site. "Always do the right thing when possible".

  19. #19
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
    Don't diss the lawyer, he is doing his job, trying to get his client off. It is how the system works. This is a hard thing for me to say as a surgeon who has had an occasional lawsuit, but the system of law in our country is a good one. Imperfect- but better than most. I have developed a great respect for most lawyers, even those trying to prove I am incompetent.
    I'm not dissing this particular lawyer. My only experience with jury duty has been sitting in a room for a full day while some lawyers exercise some brinksmanship and add to their billable hours to stretch out a civil case as far as possible before coming to a settlement that could have been arrived upon long before I had to miss work and waste a day...

    Our system is set up to draw out the legal process. As an avowed liberal, I have quite a tolerance for bureaucracy, but something needs to be done about this!
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  20. #20
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    earlier report on the warrant.
    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...796,full.story
    Quote Originally Posted by Hartford Courant
    Jeanne Johnson called 911 seconds after hearing the thud of a crash outside her Windsor Locks home and spotting a man stumbling outside his crumpled car. As she watched, the man reached back into the car and grabbed an object.

    "He threw something in my yard; I think he might be drunk,'' Johnson told the police dispatcher during the call, recorded at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 30.

    The man was off-duty police Officer Michael Koistinen, who was driving the car that had just struck and killed 15-year-old Henry Dang and who was charged Thursday with first-degree manslaughter, among other charges, in connection with the crash.

    Minutes after the call, Johnson repeated her observations to one of three responding officers –Windsor Locks Sgt. Robert Koistinen, the father of the man Johnson was watching from her window.

    According to the arrest warrant released Friday, investigators eventually found the object – a glass with the word "Budweiser" on it and traces of beer still in it.

    But that was four hours later. In that time, according to the warrant, Koistinen was never given a test to determine how much alcohol he drank that night. One investigator later told state police that if he had known of the beer glass earlier, he would have pressed to get a blood or urine sample from Koistinen. Robert Koistinen would tell investigators he searched the yard but couldn't find anything.

    Details about the 911 call and beer glass are contained in the 21-page warrant that also includes witnesses' accounts to state police that Michael Koistinen spent about six hours drinking beer, tequila and whiskey before the crash.

    Also in the warrant:

    • Instead of providing medical assistance to the injured boy, Koistinen stood by his car and called the Windsor Locks police, telling the dispatcher "he didn't know what was going on."

    • The state police accident reconstruction team estimated that Koistinen was traveling at least 73 mph, more than twice the posted speed limit, when he hit Henry.

    • Investigators believe Robert Koistinen drove his son from the scene to the police station multiple times before returning him to the scene just in time for a Suffield ambulance to take him to Johnson Memorial Medical Center in Stafford Springs. At the hospital, Robert Koistinen refused to allow police to interview his son or take a blood sample.

    • Minutes before the crash, at the intersection of West and Spring streets in Windsor Locks, Koistinen was on his cellphone talking to a friend about going to a house party on Bellaire Circle.

    • Suffield volunteer ambulance member Donald Miner, who also is a member of that town's police commission, met with Michael Koistinen in his hospital room and asked him if he had been drinking. When Koistinen told him he had not been, Miner advised him to take a blood test to prove it. Koistinen again refused, citing a fear of needles. When Miner had first arrived at the accident scene the first thing Michael Koistinen said to him was "I bet you're glad you didn't hire me." Miner had apparently interviewed him to be a police officer in Suffield.

    • Hospital personnel did obtain a urine sample from Michael Koistinen while he was being examined, but he refused to allow them to do toxicology tests on it. The hospital kept the sample for two days but because no police agency asked for it, hospital officials threw it out. The next day, state police obtained a search warrant for Koistinen's medical records.

    "This appears to be a story of a constant stream of alcohol consumption coupled with a high rate of speed, which is certainly a prescription for disaster, which is what happened here,'' said attorney James Bartolini, who represents Henry's family. "Unfortunately we will never have a definite answer chemically as to Michael Koistinen's level of alcohol consumption that night. There are a lot of unanswered questions as to what happened following the collision, but we have full confidence the state police are digging into it to get those answers.''

    In addition to first-degree manslaughter, Michael Koistinen was charged with second-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide and attempting to tamper with physical evidence. He will make his first court appearance at Superior Court in Hartford on Tuesday.

    The warrant includes interviews with all of the Windsor Locks officers who responded to the scene, ambulance personnel from two towns, hospital personnel, friends of Michael Koistinen who say they drank with him and a Suffield Tavern bartender who said she served him tequila and Jack Daniels whiskey.

    One of the officers, Paul Sherakow, has refused to talk to state police investigators and has hired a lawyer.

    The warrant also provides contradictory details involving what some Windsor Locks officers told investigators. Police Chief John Suchocki, for instance, told state police he never talked to Michael Koistinen at the scene or the hospital and that he made no decisions regarding the investigation because he wanted "transparency."

    But Suffield Officer Ryan Burrell, a member of a regional accident construction team called by Windsor Locks police, told state police that Suchocki ordered Michael Koistinen's car taken back to the Windsor Locks police station instead of to the Suffield police station. State police found the car three days later in an unsecured lot, covered by a tarp that anyone could have accessed, the warrant states.

    The warrant also states that an East Windsor EMT told state police he heard Michael Koistinen tell Suchocki he was worried about his job – to which Suchocki replied, "Worry about yourself right now."

    Robert Koistinen, the warrant states, told state police he did look for the "object" that Jeanne Johnson said had been thrown into her yard but couldn't find it because there were a lot of leaves. He told state police he returned to the police station once to make sure the regional accident team had been called before returning to the scene to help direct traffic.

    But the surveillance video at the police station shows he returned three times between 12:13 a.m. and 1:03 a.m. State police believe Michael Koistinen was in the back of the vehicle each time, the warrant states.

    Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy turned the case over to the state police a few days after the crash because of concerns that the initial investigation had been compromised. State police sources said the investigation is continuing into whether Windsor Locks police officers hindered the investigation to protect their fellow officer.

    Michael Koistinen has been a Windsor Locks police officer since February 2009. He is now on paid administrative leave. Robert Koistinen has not returned to work since the crash and is using accumulated sick time.

    Courant staff writer Christine Dempsey contributed to this story.
    Last edited by Standalone; 11-27-10 at 05:04 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    I'm not dissing this particular lawyer. My only experience with jury duty has been sitting in a room for a full day while some lawyers exercise some brinksmanship and add to their billable hours to stretch out a civil case as far as possible before coming to a settlement that could have been arrived upon long before I had to miss work and waste a day...

    Our system is set up to draw out the legal process. As an avowed liberal, I have quite a tolerance for bureaucracy, but something needs to be done about this!
    +1.

    The defendant is of course entitled to a lawyer. All's I was saying was he should have said "no comment until we have prepared our case". The fact that he's trying to smokescreen this through the media is pretty dirt-baggish. He
    might otherwise be a perfect saint, but boy did he mess that up.

    Why did his father have to go back to the station three times in 45 minutes? Isn't that leaving the crime scene also?
    He had his son in the back of the patrol car each time, was he sheilding him from being breathalized?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=spring...268.33,,0,4.27

    pretty decent visibility, IMO.

    I have had to make two separate citizen complaints in one year on Bridgeport cops who cut me off with left and right hooks. The second time I was asked to come into the station and then pressured to withdraw my complaint. I'd love to find a way to take some time off and show up on Jan 7th.
    I will shout this from the rooftops. White helmet strobe, use it during the day as well. Dorky, but you can aim it. Put a good headlight on your bars as well . I use a 4 AA Princeton Tec tech 40. 13.99 on Amazon. Since I started doing this a couple years ago, I have not had a SINGLE left cross.

    I have highly reduced my right crosses by checking my helmet mirror every time I approach a right hand side street. If an approaching vehicle looks like it might cut me off, I will slow down or even stop before the turn. I avoided three right crosses last night by doing this. Remember it was Black Friday also. A true challenge.

    With two headlamps you will be amazed at how long they will sit and wait for you to pass before they turn.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Spector is the defense attorney. What I want to know is where he got the idea that the dead cyclist had run a red light... or is he merely throwing this up as a smokescreen because "everyone knows cyclists always run red lights... "

    What a piece of work.

    But then he is all but admitting that his client wasn't following the rules of the road and had been drinking...
    The way I look at this is
    1. The light was probably green, it stays green for quite a while, and that means you can hammer down that straightaway. (See my pics in the blog, 1,2,3)
    2. If that light was green then most likely Dang was either cutting across on the crosswalk (which is about 6 feet before the blue tarp) OR, he was actually riding in correct fashion and making a proper left turn at the green light.
    3. There was a motorist who was in the oncoming and saw the actual impact. We'll have to see what he says.

    If I remember correctly, CT law doesn't require reflection or lighting on the rear of a bike, but it does require a headlamp.

    If you have hung out at that intersection for an hour, though, there are tons of pedestrians walking around. It's a pretty quiet neighborhood, and the cop should know that this is a hub of activity.

    if Koistenen had hit a baby stroller would they have argued for lack of lights and reflectors?

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    These signs are popping up all over my town. Cars regularly hammer down S. Quaker Lane , which is a designated "safe bike route" , and has bike logos painted on the lanes. Just a matter of time.....









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  25. #25
    Senior Member surgeonstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    I'm not dissing this particular lawyer. My only experience with jury duty has been sitting in a room for a full day while some lawyers exercise some brinksmanship and add to their billable hours to stretch out a civil case as far as possible before coming to a settlement that could have been arrived upon long before I had to miss work and waste a day...

    Our system is set up to draw out the legal process. As an avowed liberal, I have quite a tolerance for bureaucracy, but something needs to be done about this!
    Understood.

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