By DAVE ALTIMARI, email@example.com
9:59 PM EST, November 10, 2010
The off-duty Windsor Locks police officer who drove the car that hit and killed a 15-year-old boy was drinking at a tailgate party outside the UConn- West Virginia football game hours before the crash, state police sources have told The Courant.
The sources said investigators are developing a timeline of Michael Koistinen's whereabouts in the hours before his car hit Henry Dang shortly before midnight on Oct. 29. Dang, a Windsor Locks High sophomore, was riding his bicycle home from a friend's house on West Street in Windsor Locks when he was killed on Spring Street.
The Courant reported Wednesday that state police also have a video of Koistinen, 24, drinking at the Suffield Tavern that night before the accident.
Windsor Locks police did not take a blood sample from Koistinen or administer a Breathalyzer test.
The sources said Koistinen went to the bar after attending the tailgate party at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. It is unclear if Koistinen watched any of the game, which went into overtime, but sources said investigators have witnesses who can place him there before the 8 p.m. kickoff.
Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy asked state police to take over the investigation last week. Windsor Locks police and the North Central Municipal Regional Accident Reconstruction Team, made up of officers from area departments, initially conducted the probe.
Windsor Locks Police Chief John Suchocki told The Courant Wednesday that the regional accident team was called to the scene at 12:10 a.m., within minutes of the accident. Suchocki did not say when the first officers from the team arrived to take over the investigation.
He also would not comment on whether Sgt. Robert Koistinen, Michael's father, was in charge of the crash scene. Dang's family had criticized the department for allowing the elder Koistinen to be at the scene.
Sources said Michael Koistinen had already been taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs when members of the regional reconstruction team arrived after the accident. State police sought Koistinen's medical records from the hospital to see if blood was drawn during the course of treating him; sources said it was not.
State police investigators returned to Spring and West streets Wednesday to take more measurements. The state's reconstruction team was at the scene shortly before midnight this past Friday, which was the time that the accident occurred a week earlier.
Dang's brother, Ha Tran, said Dang was supposed to get a ride home from his parents or his friend's mother, but decided to ride his bicycle because he was going to need it the next day.
Michael Koistinen, who is on paid administrative leave, was traveling west on Spring Street, coming over a small hill leading into the intersection where the crash occurred. There is a 35 mph speed limit sign nearby, as well as a sign that a blind child lives nearby on Spring Street, within a quarter-mile of the accident site.
The family has hired Hartford attorney James Bartolini to represent them. Bartolini said that he has hired his own investigative team to review the accident but that he has confidence the state police are doing a thorough investigation.
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