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First Day of Trial of Former Windsor Locks Police Officer Began Monday

Robert Koistinen is charged with interfering in the investigation of the fatal accident where a 15-year-old teenager, Henry Dang, was killed. Koistinen's son, Michael, was convicted of killing Dang in the October 2010 accident.

As Derek Dubois and his girlfriend were driving east on Spring Street on October 29, 2010, they passed a boy riding a bicycle headed west.

A short time later they saw a car heading west at a high rate speed, so fast that it caused their car to shake a bit, Dubois testified on the first day of former Windsor Locks Police Sgt. Robert Koistinen’s trial.

Dubois was one of several witnesses who testified Monday. He said when a few seconds after the car passed them they heard a loud thump, looked in the rearview mirror and saw sparks coming from the car.

Dubois said he made a U-turn, to head back west on Spring Street, made a right turn on West Street and parked in a driveway. He called 911, to report the crash. A recording of that call was played for the jury Monday.

“I’m on Spring Street,” Dubois could be heard telling the dispatcher. “Someone just hit a kid on a bike . . . he hit him hard.”

Robert Koistinen, 55, is accused of interfering with the investigation of the accident in which his son, Michael, an off-duty Windsor Locks police officer at the time, was convicted of striking 15-year-old Henry Dang with his car as the teen rode his bicycle at the intersection of Spring and West streets on Oct. 29, 2010.

Michael Koistinen pleaded no contest to second-degree manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence on June 12. He was sentenced on August 27 to five years and four months in prison.

Robert Koistinen is charged with third-degree hindering prosecution.

Among those who testified Monday, were the first two patrol officers on the scene that night, Paul Sherokow and Robert Lacasse. Both said they were initially more concerned about seeing to the well-being of Dang, and told witnesses at the scene to wait until an investigator could speak to them.

 Jeanne Johnson, testified that the car in the accident came to rest just in front of her home on Spring Street after she heard the crash. She said she saw the operator exit the vehicle.

“He appeared to be staggering when he exited the vehicle,” Johnson said. “He threw an object in my front yard. I wasn’t able to see what it was.”

In her opening statement, Hartford County State’s Attorney Gail Hardy said the state will present evidence that when Robert Koistinen arrived at the accident scene around midnight on October 30, 2010 he began to concentrate mostly on his son rather than the victim Henry Dang.

Hardy said the accident happened about three houses from where Dang left a friend's home that night.


Elliot B. Spector, Robert Koistinen’s attorney, said in his opening statement that Hardy will spend a lot of time telling the jury what Michael Koistinen did that night.

“We believe this trial is about what Robert Koistinen did, not what Michael Koistinen did,” Spector said.

No witness will testify that Robert Koistinen did anything that night to prevent anyone from speaking to Michael, Spector said. As soon as Robert Koistinen learned his son was involved, he recused himself from the investigation. Robert was upset and emotional but acted professionally that night, Spector added.

During cross examination of Sherokow and Lacasse, Spector asked both if Robert Koistinen had prevented them from doing their jobs. Both answered No.

The trial continues Tuesday.

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