Windsor Locks Chief To Retire Ahead Of Report On Fatal Crash Involving Officer

Police Chief John Suchocki is retiring ahead of what is expected to be a damning report on how the department handled the fatal crash involving an off-duty officer and a 17-year-old riding his bicycle.

But Suchocki said Thursday that the probe into the death of Henry Dang and how the department investigated it is not the reason that he is stepping down.

“I’m am going to be 65 years old on Aug. 10 and my wife and I have been talking for quite a while that would be the time to retire,” Suchocki said. “I’ve been doing this for 44 years and it’s time for something else.”

Suchocki said he has been interviewed by Frank Rudewicz, who was hired by the town to do an independent review of the Oct. 30 accident in which off duty officer Michael Koistinen struck and killed Dang as he was riding his bicycle home on Spring Street around midnight.

But he said he has no idea what will be in the report and whether it will be critical of him. Rudewicz is expected to complete his report and present it to town officials in the next few weeks.

Neither Windsor Locks police nor the regional accident reconstruction team that was called in to investigate the crash tried to determine whether Michael Koistinen had been drinking and no one followed up on a neighbor’s claim that she saw Michael Koistinen throw a bottle of some sort onto her lawn right after the accident.

It wasn’t until hours later, long after Michael Koistinen had been removed from the scene by ambulance, that officers searched for and found a broken beer mug from the Suffield Tavern where Michael Koistinen had been drinking right before the accident.

Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy removed the regional team from the investigation and brought in the state police, who eventually arrested Michael Koistinen on manslaughter charges and his father, Windsor Locks Sgt. Robert Koistinen, on obstruction of justice charges.

Both criminal cases are pending. Michael Koistinen was fired by the Police Commission. Robert Koistinen is on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the independent investigation.

Suchocki was hired as police chief on Feb. 28, 1999, after spending nearly 30 years in the West Hartford police department, where he retired at the rank of captain.

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