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 one witness told Robert Koistinen that she saw Michael Koistinen throw something out of the car. Robert Koistinen “kicked a few leaves around” and didn’t find anything., Hardy said.
Two witnesses will testify that Koistinen directed them through the crime scene past Henry Dang’s body and didn’t take their information down. One of the witnesses, called the state police tip line to report that Windsor Locks police took no information from her.
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.
The trial of a former Windsor Locks police sergeant who is charged with hindering prosecution in a fatal accident involving a teenage boy in 2010 is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. today in Hartford Superior Court.
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.
Judge Julia Dewey said last month that the evidence part of the trial should be completed by October 14. The selection process is to choose 6 jurors plus two alternates for the trial.
The case is being prosecuted by State’s Attorney Gail Hardy and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney John Fahey. Koistinen is being represented by Hartford attorney Elliot B. Spector.
Robert Koistinen, of Suffield, was a longtime sergeant with the department at the time of the accident. He was released from the job in January. He is trying to get his job back, according to officials.
The Dang family sued the Koistinens in civil court, but in September 2011 reached settlements totaling $420,000 with the Koistinens, and the former owners of the tavern that served the Michael Koistinen alcohol.