St. Charles, MO – A jury on Friday acquitted a man for the 2015 death of Missouri State Trooper James Bava.
Trooper Bava, 25, was killed Aug. 28 2015 after he initiated a pursuit of Serghei Comerzan’s motorcycle, which was traveling at 105 MPH.
While Trooper Bava was pursuing Comerzan, the trooper lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Trooper Bava was ejected, his patrol car landed on him, and part of the vehicle lodged in his armpit. His vehicle then burst into flames with the trooper trapped under the car, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
UPDATE: Trooper Bava’s father advised that he was not ejected, as reported by the Post-Dispatch, and he was wearing his seatbelt.
Prosecutors charged Comerzan with second-degree murder, and resisting arrest, among other charges, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A mistrial was declared in the initial trial in May 2017 after the jury was unable to obtain a unanimous verdict. Prosecutors then changed the second-degree murder charge to manslaughter and began a second trial on Monday.
The jury acquitted Comerzan on Friday after the state was unable to convince the jury that the man knew he was being pursued by Trooper Bava.
According to the Post-Dispatch, Highway Patrol Col. Sandra Karsten released a statement which said, “This has been a very difficult period of time for James’ family, friends and for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I want to express my thanks to all our employees as well as the law enforcement personnel who have invested countless hours in this investigation, including the Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services, and to every citizen who offered their help and support in any way. I am very grateful. The Patrol will continue to support the Bava Family in any way that we can.”