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By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY and JENNA CARLESSO, email@example.com
11:33 PM EDT, October 30, 2010
WINDSOR LOCKS —
A 15-year-old high school student died early Saturday when his bicycle was hit by a car driven by an off-duty Windsor Locks police officer on Spring Street.
The bicyclist, Henry Dang, was a sophomore at Windsor Locks High School who played basketball and ran track. He was taken to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The police officer, identified by local police as Michael Koistinen, was driving west on Spring Street, near West Street, when his car hit Dang, authorities said. Koistinen was treated at Johnson Memorial Hospital for injuries that were not serious and released.
Dang was on his way home from a friend's house at about midnight Saturday when the car struck him, said his sister, Jenny Dang, 17, also a student at Windsor Locks High School. She said her family spoke with him by phone about two hours earlier, offering him a ride home.
"He loved being outside and riding his bike. We never expected this to happen," Jenny Dang said.
"Henry was an extremely popular, well-liked student who did very well in school," Leonard G. Lanza, interim superintendent of schools, wrote in an e-mail.
Grief counselors were at the school Saturday and will return Sunday and Monday, Lanza said.
Jenny Dang remembered her brother as a "friendly, outgoing" person who got along with everyone and "whose first priority was always his family."
"The whole town was his friend, basically," she said.
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.
Students and residents who wish to discuss and celebrate the life of Henry Dang can do so Sunday at the Windsor Locks Congregational Church on Main Street, scheduled for 1 p.m. Students are planning a gathering in Dang's memory at 7 a.m. Monday in front of the high school. Jenny Dang said students are planning to wear white to the gathering.
Members of the Windsor Locks Crisis Team will be at the high school to talk from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. The team also will be available all day Monday when students return to school, Lanza said.
About 12 team members, including counselors, administrators, social workers and psychologists, talked to some 60 students at the school Saturday, he said. Many parents were there, too.
"Those who went to Windsor Locks High School today were very emotional," Lanza wrote in the e-mail, "and we anticipate that will continue on Sunday and throughout the week."
A Facebook page in Henry Dang's memory has been set up at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/RIP-Henry-Dang/161990313834881?v=wall
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