Tuesday August 28, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A state judge told a former Windsor Locks police officer that he should have known better than to drink alcohol and drive before sentencing him to five years and four months in prison Monday for an off-duty car accident that killed a 15-year-old boy riding a bicycle two years ago.

The punishment handed down by Hartford Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander was part of a plea bargain between prosecutors and former Officer Michael Koistinen, 26, who pleaded no contest to second-degree manslaughter and evidence tampering in June.

Koistinen apologized in court to the family of Windsor Locks High School sophomore Henry Dang, who died after being thrown nearly 200 feet after being struck by Koistinen’s car. Police said Koistinen had been drinking for several hours and was going more than 70 mph in a 35 mph zone when he hit Dang, who was riding home from a friend’s house around midnight on Oct. 30, 2010.

"I’m extremely sorry, and I never meant this to happen," said Koistinen.

Koistinen’s lawyer, Raymond Hassett, called the case "an epic confluence of disastrous circumstances." Hassett said Koistinen is a soft-spoken, compassionate young man who will live with his guilt forever.

But Dang’s family, in a statement read in court by prosecutor John Fahey, scolded Koistinen for his "stupidity" and called his actions "selfish and cold-hearted." The family said Koistinen did not deserve their forgiveness.

"Michael took something precious and priceless from us," the statement read. "Our lives will never be the same."

Koistinen was led out of the courtroom by marshals to begin serving his sentence. He also must serve five years of probation and perform 100 hours of community service after his prison term.

During the probation, he will be banned from using alcohol and illegal drugs and will be subject to random urine testing.