A former Windsor Locks police officer accused of killing a 15-year-old bicyclist while driving in town last year wants to take his case to trial.
Michael Koistinen, 25, rejected a plea offer from the state Friday at Superior Court. In a proceeding that took seconds, Judge Joan Alexander agreed to put his name on the trial list.
Koistinen faces charges of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and two counts of criminal attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence.
The trial is expected to take place next year, his lawyer, Raymond Hassett, said outside the courtroom.
Hassett wouldn't reveal the state's offer.
"The offer that was made by the state was not representative of what we believe to be in consideration of all the facts in the case," Hassett said. "The state's position is different from the defendant's position in many ways. These are facts and circumstances that we would have to offer to the state in a trial."
Koistinen's father, Windsor Locks Sgt. Robert Koistinen, who is accused of removing his son from the scene of the crash to shield him from scrutiny and, later, resisting attempts to test his son's blood for alcohol, also rejected a plea bargain offer from the prosecution. He told the court on Thursday that he would take his case to trial.
Michael Koistinen was off-duty at the time of the Oct. 29, 2010, accident, which killed local high school student Henry Dang. The Windsor Locks Police Commission fired Koistinen on Dec. 8.
A state police accident reconstruction team determined that Koistinen was driving at least 70 mph in a 35-mph zone at the time of the crash.
Investigators also say that Koistinen spent hours before the crash drinking alcohol at a tailgating party outside a University of Connecticut football game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford and then at a Suffield bar. But because there is no proof that he had been driving under the influence, he is not facing that charge.
The state police also allege that his father shielded him from scrutiny at the crash scene by driving him back to the police station three times. They returned to the scene the third time only minutes before a Suffield ambulance arrived to take Michael Koistinen to the hospital.
Once at the hospital, Robert Koistinen stopped an officer from a regional accident reconstruction team from entering his son's room. He told the officer that Michael Koistinen would not be taking a blood test, state police said.
Robert Koistinen is charged with hindering prosecution and interfering with police. He is currently on paid administrative leave, still earning his $73,385 salary.
Michael Koistinen has appealed his firing to the state Board of Mediation and Arbitration, arguing that the police commission illegally fired him last December. He is seeking reinstatement to his job and $50,000 in back pay.
CASE FILE UPDATE
Plea offer: Ex-police Officer Michael Koistinen rejected a plea offer from the state Friday. Judge agreed to put his name on the trial list.
Trial: Expected to take place next year.
Charges: First-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and two counts of criminal attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence.
Related case: Sgt. Robert Koistinen, the father of the accused, has rejected a plea bargain offer on charges of hindering prosecution and interfering with police.
On leave: Robert Koistinen is currently on paid administrative leave, still earning his $73,385 salary.
Courant staff writer Hilda Muñoz contributed to this story.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times